Biographical Information


Ken Marcus 60, is recognized as one of Americas most outstanding erotic photographers. His award winning images glamour, bondage & fetish are published throughout the world.

For over three decades Ken has enjoyed working on what most photographers would consider 'Dream Assignments'. For many years his outstanding photographs of beautiful women have graced the pages of Playboy and Penthouse magazines as well as hundreds of advertisements, editorials, album covers, calendars and posters. His erotic images of men and women in highly sexual situations have appeared throughout the world in galleries, museums and sophisticated publications.

Ken Marcus was born and raised in Hollywood, California, where he was educated in art, photography and classical music. He studied advertising photography at the Art Center College of Design and Brooks Institute of Photography and for 13 years in Yosemite National Park as the youngest student of famed landscape photographer Ansel Adams.

In 1965 at the age of 19, Ken established his studio on fashionable Melrose Avenue in Hollywood, where his business continues today. After several years as a successful advertising, commercial, and food photographer, his direction shifted toward fashion, beauty, glamour and nudes. He has produced award winning photographs for editorial, entertainment and consumer clients.

In 1971 Ken was selected as the first American photographer for Penthouse magazine as they published their first American editions. He was responsible for introducing the soft-focus technique that soon became a Penthouse trademark. Ken left Penthouse after three years to become the major contributing photographer to Playboy magazine. From 1974-'85 Ken's work was featured regularly in Playboy's 15 international editions. For eight years Ken exclusively photographed the famous Playboy Calendar. He has produced hundreds of editorials, centerfolds, covers and calendars. His glamourous nudes have received many awards and much media publicity.

Recognized as one of the nations top photographic educators, Ken has produced seminars, lectures, and workshops on the art and techniques of nude and glamour photography. For twenty five years he was a regularly featured speaker at national photographic conventions and international photo expo's. He produced a highly successful three-volume video series on professional glamour techniques that is considered the 'bible' of glamour photography. His corporate sponsors have included Canon, Hasselblad, Pentax, Polaroid and Kodak.

In 1988 Ken was selected as the artist-in-residence for the Yosemite National Park Museum. His controversial images of nude models in nature were originally banned by the government, but are now shown as part of the museum's permanent collection. BACKGROUND & EDUCATION
Born October 2, 1946 in Hollywood, California, Ken began his lifelong interest in photography at around age 5. Encouraged by his parents, he later established his first darkroom in the family basement at age eight and became active in amateur camera clubs and activities.

At age 12, while on a camera club photo outing to the Mission at San Juan Capistrano, Ken produced an unusual picture of the statue of St. Francis of Assisi. This resulted in his first commercial sale to Paramount Pictures. The movie studio displayed a mural of his photo in the lobby at the world premiere and used it for promotion in exchange for several years worth of free movie tickets to Paramount Theaters (not a bad deal, for a kid).

Ken's formal fine-art photographic training began at age 13, becoming Ansel Adams' youngest student. Ken studied with Ansel in Yosemite National Park for the next 13 years as well as Brett Weston, Paul Cappinegro, Wyn Bullock, Imogene Cunningham and Judy Dater, all of whom influenced his early work.

While still a high school student, Ken attended the Art Center College of Design at night to study fashion and advertising photography. He later attended Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara.

Ken returned to Hollywood in 1965 at age 18 to begin his photo business and establish a production studio on Melrose Avenue.


Ken's earliest commercial work consisted of product shots, catalogs, corporate and editorial assignments. One of his more unusual, yet memorable early assignments was to photograph the instruction book for the famous Pink Pussycat College of Striptease (where dancers came from all over the world to learn the art and technique of strip-tease).

Throughout his twenties, Ken's commercial assignments included product and fashion catalogs, architectural interiors, food illustration, magazine editorials and advertising photography. Within five years, his work received national publicity and several Art Director's Awards.

By the early '70's Ken work began shifting more toward beauty, fashion & glamour as he shot regularly for Max Factor, Fredericks' of Hollywood and other west coast fashion clients.


In 1972 Ken was approached to be the first American photographer for Penthouse magazine shortly after publisher Bob Guccione challenged and overturned the ban against total nudity in the U.S. Supreme Court. This decision allowed portrayal of the human body in it's entirety for the first time in America. Ken was amongst the first photographers to legally explore this new creative arena.

His early pictorials were fantasy images of erotic themes involving couples and models photographed through heavy, soft focus diffusion. This technique, while popular during the early part of the 20th century, had not been used in publication since the early 1920's. Ken crafted his own homemade diffusion filters (at the time there were none available on the commercial market). Penthouse's fully nude pictorials created quite a stir in the publishing world as circulation broke all prior records. The massive publicity rapidly transformed Ken into one of America's most famous glamour photographers.

In 1974, Ken left Penthouse to become the West Coast Contributing Photographer at Playboy magazine, replacing several of their staff photographers. This free-lance relationship lasted for over 11 years, with Ken often shooting more than 200 days a year. During that time he produced 41 Playmate layouts, over 100 calendars, covers and editorials and twice received Playboy's 'Photographer of the Year Award'.

In 1985 Ken ended his relationship with Playboy because of new Copyright and Work-for Hire policies that the magazine had imposed. Ken held strong beliefs regarding artists ownership of intellectual properties and copyright.

Shortly thereafter, Ken began shooting pictorials and centerfolds once again, for Penthouse. Meanwhile, new clients such as Jordache, SnapOn Tools, NAPA, and Muscle & Fitness magazine quickly filled Ken's schedule, as well as numerous speaking engagements, seminars, video productions and workshops.


Throughout his career, Ken Marcus has maintained an academic interest in photography. For almost 25 years, he has lectured, taught seminars and conducted intensive study workshops for photographers. A regularly featured speaker at national photo conventions and expos, Ken's presentations drew large crowds and receive the highest reviews.

More than 10,000 photographers have attended Ken Marcus seminars for an insight into the complex world of professional glamour and nude photography.

Sponsored by corporations including Kodak, Hasselblad Dynalite and Canon, and Professional Photographers Organizations, Kens lectures and seminars were presented to professional groups throughout the world. Ken has appeared in Australia, Canada, Mexico, Singapore and in most of the United States.

As an addition to his personal appearances, he has produced an award winning video series 'The Ken Marcus Glamour Workshops'. This successful three volume video series has received awards from industry publications. These videos explain professional production techniques for both studio and location glamour photography.


Throughout his life, Ken Marcus has relentlessly pursued his interest in black & white, fine art photography. Originally interested only in the landscape (Ansel Adams' influence), Ken began taking serious interest in nude photography as art during the time that he was working with Playboy. His nude studies of ballet dancers were first exhibited in Los Angeles in the early 80's.

Throughout the 80's and 90's Ken's has been creatively exploring the underground world of erotica and fetish as exhibited by Hollywood's more colorful residents. Only recently, however have these image been made public through the internet His most current images are being produced exclusively for the 'Erotic Portfolios' section of his website:

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