Until the later half of the 20th century glamour photography was usually referred to as erotic photography. Early erotic photography was often associated with „French postcards“, small postcard sized images, that were sold by street vendors in France. In the early 1900s the pinup became popular and depicted scantily dressed women, often in a playful pose, seemingly surprised or startled by the viewer. The subject would usually have an expression of delight which seemed to invite the viewer to come and play. During World War II pin-up pictures of scantily clad movie stars were extremely popular among American servicemen. Betty Grable was one of the most famous pinup models of all time; her pinup in a bathing suit was extremely popular with World War II soldiers.
In December 1953, Marilyn Monroe was featured in the first issue of Playboy magazine. Bettie Page was the Playboy Playmate of the Month in January 1955. Playboy was the first magazine featuring nude erotic photography targeted at the mainstream consumer.
The British Queen of Curves in the 1950s and early sixties was Pamela Green. Harrison Marks, on the encouragement of Green, took up glamour photography and together in 1957 they published the pinup magazine Kamera. Currently in England the earliest use of the word „glamour“ as a euphemism for nude modeling or photography is attributed to Marks‘ publicity material in 1950s.
Glamour models popular in the early 1990s included Hope Talmons and Dita Von Teese and the modern era is represented in the U.S. by models like Heidi Van Horne and Bernie Dexter, while the UK’s leading representative of the genre is Katie Price and Lucy Pinder.