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A vintage cartoon.

In art, the adjective vintage descibes artwork that is "old" (as opposed to contemporary art) — but while old or old-fashioned sounds neutral or slightly negative, vintage comes with rather positive connotations, similar to classic. Etymologically, the term vintage compares old artwork to wine which is said to gain quality with age.

Today, the adjective vintage is usually used for work from the 19th century to approximately the 1930s/1940s. It is perhaps most often used for photography, but can also apply to illustrations and non-visual art forms such as works of literature.

In broader terms, vintage can be applied to almost any man-made item from the past that is preserved, collected, and traded because it holds an enduring nostalgic interest, historical importance, and/or monetary value as an antique. Thus, there is a perpetual after-market for many vintage cars, records, magazines, furnishings, and an endless array of functional and decorative items from the past that appeal to collectors.

In addition, pop culture elements from a few decades ago such as television shows, songs, and fashions from the 1950s and '60s (some might also include the '70s) are also generally classified as being vintage.

Vintage vs. contemporary art[edit]

A vintage F/F spanking photo.

Every era tends to have, in a way, its distinct style, regardless of the artist. You can usually easily tell a work of vintage erotica from contemporary erotica — even if a contemporary photographer does his best to make his work look like it was 100 years old (a "fake vintage" work). The difference may be subtle and hard to put in words (it's much more than just a matter of black-and-white versus color, hairstyle and costume), but most viewers will be instantly able to tell it apart, which is one of the reasons why original vintage art is still so popular today. (Another is that the copyright of such works will often have expired, putting them in the public domain where they can be freely reproduced for any purpose.)

Stag films and spanking videos[edit]

Vintage pornographic films, which began as silent 8mm and 16mm stag party loops in the 1920s, also included fetish films of spanking erotica. Most of the earliest examples that still exist were produced in France. By the 1940s some reels combined sex scenes with bondage, spanking, and whipping. In the 1950s, New York filmmaker Irving Klaw produced a now-classic series of bondage/spanking/wresting film shorts. Many of these featured fetish icon Betty Page. The production of silent underground adult film reels (5 to 15 minutes in length) mostly in black-and-white, some later loops in color, continued up to the late 1970s.

The 1980s introduced affordable video cameras (in Beta and VHS format) along with the videotape cassette recorder (VCR) for producing and watching home movies. This led to the first wave of full-length spanking videos with color and synchronized sound. Since then, more sophisticated digital discs have become the dominant technology and '80s videos are now generally considered "vintage" artifacts from the bygone era of VHS videotape.

Silent stag reels[edit]

  • 1900s: Polissons et galipettes (The Good Old Naughty Days, F/F, M/F) 2002 compilation of porn from 1905-1930. (spanking clip at Xvideos)
  • 1920s: Vintage Erotica Anno 1920 (Cult Epics, compilation of French stag films)
  • 1920-1960: Vintage Lesbian Erotica (1920-1960) (Cult Epics compilation)
  • 1924: The Casting Couch (stag short with male bondage and F/M cropping); excerpt in YouTube documentary at 9:20.
  • 1930s: Vintage Erotica Anno 1930 (Cult Epics compilation), watch Ostra Studio's Dressage au Fouet at the Internet Archive
  • 1940s: Vintage Erotica Anno 1940 (Cult Epics compilation)
  • 1960s-80s: Bizarro Sex Loops (Something Weird Video), multi-volume series of bondage, spanking, and sex reels.

Imitating a vintage appearance[edit]

It takes great skill to imitate a vintage appearance well in a modern work, regardless of whether it's an artwork, illustration, photograph or story.

Photograph taken by Asa Jones (2022).