Bob Mizer. AMG: 1000 Model Directory
Bob Mizer. AMG: 1000 Model Directory
Edited by Dian Hanson
Published by Taschen
Hardcover, 2 vols. in slipcase with DVD, 8.7 x 10.8 in., 1048 pages
Multilingual Edition: English, French, German
In 1945 Bob Mizer 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 ’50s 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. The little 98-page books became instant collectibles, but the photos were so small, 12 to a page, that they were as frustrating to view as they were titillating.
TASCHEN’s two-volume edition 1000 Model Directory prints from Mizer’s original 4 x 5 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. Glenn Corbett of TV’s 77 Sunset Strip is also here, as well as Nick Adams, star of The Rebel, and top bodybuilders Chris Dickerson, Dick Dubois, Vince Gironda, Bill Grant, Zabo Koszewski, Henry Lenz, Don Peters, Bob Shealy, Charles Stroeder, Armand Tanny, and John Tristram.
An hour-long DVD is also included, containing 18 films made by Bob Mizer between 1954 and 1968, in black and white and color, all edited specifically for this book. They range from simple posing routines by bodybuilding stars Keith Stephan and AMG favorites Forrester Millard, John Davidson, and Steve Buono, 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. Mizer’s take on Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, in posing straps, is a standout.
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. 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.