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Bob Mizer and his Thousand Models

by our Editors in Films & Books , 04 september 2016


In September a two-volume, slipcased edition of photographs by Bob Mizer will be released, titled “1000 Model Directory.” In 1945 Bob Mizer (1922-1992) began taking photographs of strapping young men on Muscle Beach in Venice, California. In December of that year he formed the Athletic Model Guild to market his photos, and “physique photography” was born.

Before Mizer there were bodybuilders and men who photographed them, but AMG photos, even those of the same men, were different, subtly provocative, discretely aimed at a gay audience. They weren’t nude, but showed as much as the law allowed in 1945.

In 1951 Mizer launched “Physique Pictorial,” America’s first indisputably gay magazine, bringing his photos of top bodybuilders to grateful readers worldwide. By the late 1950s Mizer had photographed over 1,000 men, moving from the beach to his quirky Los Angeles studio, where he introduced props including Greek columns, Roman headdresses, rear projection, and famously, his mother’s glassware, for theatrical Hollywood effect.


In 1957 he published a catalog featuring all his men, titled “1000 Model Directory.” In 1968 a second “1000 Model Directory” followed, with the men photographed in the intervening years. These little 98-page books became instant collectibles, but the photos were so small, twelve to a page, that they were as frustrating to view as they were titillating.

The new 1048 page “1000 Model Directory,” published by Taschen in hardcover, prints from Mizer’s original negatives to present these handsome hunks in stunning clarity. Editor Dian Hanson trawled through a quarter million male nudes to select this lineup of top models, including movie stars Sammy Jackson, Richard Harrison, and Ed Fury, and top bodybuilders.

An hour-long DVD is also included, containing eighteen films made by Bob Mizer between 1954 and 1968, in black and white and color. They range from simple posing routines by bodybuilding stars and AMG favorites, to sword and sandal star Ed Fury’s first physique film, to gladiator extravaganzas, wrestling adventures, crime dramas, and - a Bob specialty - humorous morality tales, starring Jim Paris, John Tristram, Monte Hanson and other models featured in the book.
 



 







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In the New Issue of Gay News, 314, October 2017

















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