Aug 22, 2016

The Physique Photographs of Bruce of L.A.

Everyone's heard of Physique Pictorial, the groundbreaking magazine that displayed male semi-nudes in the desolate years before Stonewall.

But Bob Mizer wasn't the only physique photographer selling semi-nudes to gay men.  There was also the legendary Bruce of L.A.













Born Bruce Bellas in Nebraska, he was a high school chemistry teacher in Nebraska before moving to L.A. in 1947.  During the 1950s he began photographing singlet-clad muscle men, publishing first in Physique Pictorial and then his own Today's Man.  His photos were also available by mail order.














Some of his models adopt the standard bodybuilder's flex, but there are also relaxed informal poses, like this older hunk reclining on a table.











He died in 1974, but his influence lives on in the work of artists like Robert Mapplethorpe and Bruce Weber.