Aug 28, 2017

Fons Ianelli: Photographer of World War II Beefcake

Son of renowned sculptor Alfonso Ianelli, Fons Ianelli (1917-1988) grew up in Chicago, and opened a photographic studio in 1940.

I don't know if it's Ianelli or Iannelli -- it's spelled both ways in books and on websites.

During World War II, Fons worked for the Navy Aviation Photography Unit during World War II, charged with photographing the daily lives of the sailors.

Mostly he photographed strikingly beautiful men, often half-naked.

After the war, he continued to photograph everyday life, especially places where the American Dream of endless prosperity had fallen short, such as a well-received study of Kentucky coal miners.   He still managed to find strikingly beautiful men.

He also did physique photography, such as a series about bodybuilder John Grimek.  It was a private session, never published.

Yes, Grimek was nude.

Fons worked on cinema verite in the 1950s, filming Emergency Ward and The Young Fighter,  about a boxer who has decided to give up the ring.

He was a renowned photojournalist, with stories in McCall’s, Life, Fortune, Collier’s, and The Saturday Evening Post.

I don't know if he was gay or not, but according to his obituary, he was survived by a son.

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