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Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowline.
Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sail.
Explore. Dream. Discover
---Mark Twain


Bob Mizer & Tom of Finland Exhibition (L.A.)


The Pacific Design Center showcases an exhibit of the combined works of California photographer Bob Mizer of the Athletic Model Guild (AMG) and Finish artist Tom of Finland (so renamed by Mizer because Mizer calculated the man's Finnish name would be too hard for his readers. So there: the moniker was adopted more for practical than 'artistic' reason. Ha!)

As a physique culturist and fan of Bob Mizer photography - and physique photography, in general - I was anxious to see this exhibit. It is probably the first American show of these trailblazers' works. (Interestingly enough the two men, longtime professional friends, died only months apart.) Fans will be delighted to see on display the key for deciphering those enigmatic symbols Mizer took to publishing beside each model. At the time it was strongly rumored (and remains urban myth) that the bizarre marks indicated a model's sexual proclivities.... I was sorry to see no souvenir of it was in the gift shop.
future Mr Olympia Chris Dickerson(right)

Bob Mizer was the editor for the legendary and long-running Physique Pictorial physique magazines which dished out health tips and civil rights information (regarding censorship and entrapment by Vice squads, gov't officials - especially the Post Office - pen pal clubs, hustlers, decency groups) in addition to its bedrock of male nudes depicting wrestling, gymnastics, and heroic and poolside poses. He also made a shitload of films most of which are probably more cheeky and light in nature than anything else. By some of Mizer's own blunt descriptions he was not delusional about their cinematic cache ("the wrestling is not very believable because the models were too lazy to follow direction, and the lighting is bad in parts but we decided to make it available for viewing because some readers may get a kick out of the plot").
before him, no one outside of authentic die hard bikers dressed like that. Life imitated art
Through Physique Pictorial the American market was introduced to Tom of Finland. His iconic macho muscular archetype - impossible V-taper silhouette, thick neck, pronounced nipples, painted-on clothing (and bulbous genitalia) - became immediately popular and are recognizable worldwide (see top image). You can blame Tom of Finland for the cartoonish leather fetish so common among homosexual men -- because, before him, no one outside of authentic die hard bikers dressed like that. Life imitated art. The magazine advanced the careers/fan bases of several other artists and designers, too, like Harry Bush, Geo. Quaintance, Torro; as well as champion athletes and models such as Ed Fury, Larry Scott, John Tristram, Bob Delmonteque (who would go on to become a renown physique photographer), and young Jim Paris. 
Bob Delmonteque. Fitness for life!
(not sure if photograph by Bob Mizer)

Any physique enthusiasts out there? Would love to hear from someone who actually met Mizer. Don't be shy!

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