Bob Mizer’s American boys still rock a jock.
If you’re not familiar with Bob Mizer’s work, it’s best described as a sensual lookbook of masculine American archetypes. From cowboys and petty thugs to hustlers and military studs, Mizer’s magazines featured all-American boys modeling in the posing straps.
His photography was a seedbed for a myriad of image makers, both amateur and professional – such as Robert Mapplethorpe, David Hockney, Jim French, Bruce Weber and Andy Warhol. Using home made sets, or light and slide projections, Bob Mizer prefigured what would later become ‘constructed’ photography in the early 1980’s.
Mizer also produced the widely circulated men’s magazine, Physique Pictorial, which introduced and promoted the artists, Quaintance and Tom of Finland to the world at large. By producing Physique Pictorial, Mizer infiltrated/flooded American culture with images of men and a fantastic spectrum of masculinity.
Mizer passed away May 12, 1992. However, before Playboy, Playgirl and Hustler ruled the adult newsstands, Mizer took the hunkiest of American men right off the bus and transformed them into the centerfolds of a men’s magazine in Los Angeles. Working out of his house in Los Angeles, Mizer created his legendary studio, Athletic Model Guild, part business, part watering hole and wayward house for youths, but primarily ground zero for the new era of male imagery. With knowledge of art history and film, Mizer’s work was meticulous, intelligent, humorous, and eloquent – a language that could only come from the mid-century, golden age of Southern California.
“Now, nearly 30 years later, we want to expose a new generation to Physique Pictorial,” says Dennis Bell, founder and president of the Bob Mizer Foundation. The organization is committed to the conservation of Mizer’s memory, works and legacy.
The description from the organization’s website reads:
The Bob Mizer Foundation Inc. was established in 2010 by photographer Dennis Bell for charitable and educational purposes and as a public non-profit committed to promoting and preserving the works of progressive and controversial photographers. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) Educational Archive, the Bob Mizer Foundation is supported by grants, donations and the contributions made by its devoted members. The Foundation’s interns and volunteers are integral to helping us achieve our stated goal of promoting and preserving progressive and controversial photography.
To learn more about the Bob Mizer Foundation, visit the official website.
In the meantime, scroll through 29 of our favorite Images from Mizer’s collection.