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Elmer Batters

Legs for Days

Elmer Batters

Elmer Batters’ (1919–1997) fetish photography was some of the first to focus in on women's feet, legs, and stockings, giving primacy to the lower extremities in erotic and pornographic images. Batters served aboard a submarine in World War II where he became aware that his sexual tastes were different from his shipmates. Following his discharge he married his first leg model, settled in Rancho Palas Verdes, and made a career photographing women with an emphasis on legs and feet. He created eighteen original magazine titles, including Elmer’s Naked Jungle and The Sneaker World of Elmer Batters, and is the subject of some TASCHEN books.

Batter’s vintage photographs incorporate elements of burlesque and BDSM with settings and interiors typical of the 70s, 80s, and 90s, making for imagery that is soaked in the illicit nostalgia of the past. Batters started out publishing his photos himself, but from the late 1960s onwards the field was his, and he was the star house photographer of magazines such as Leg-O-Rama, Nylon Doubletake and Black Silk Stockings, to name but a few. Some of Batters’ most sought after photos feature his all time favorite model, Caruschka, famed for her fine high arches and well-formed calves. Amongst foot fetish fans these pictures are known as ‘The Caruschka Sittings.’

Near the end of his life, Batters was rediscovered by Benedikt Taschen who produced a couple of TASCHEN books of his work, including From the Tip of the Toes to the Top of the Hose and Legs That Dance to Elmer’s Tune. Taschen became acquainted with Batters’ work in Leg Show magazine, where Sexy Book editor Dian Hanson had introduced a new generation of fetishists to his photos during the 1980s and 1990s. Whether or not you share Elmer’s compulsions, his contribution to popularizing foot fetishism and expanding the lexicon of mainstream porn is undeniable.