In commemoration of the passing of male physique photographer Bob Mizer 25 years ago in May 1992, the Bob Mizer Foundation has just announced that it will relaunch his groundbreaking and controversial magazine, Physique Pictorial in August 2017.
Bob Mizer founded Physique Pictorial in 1951 in order to showcase his growing portfolio of models – flexing muscle men both in costume and out, set among lavish landscapes or simply grinning for the camera in Mizer’s studio.
The publication enjoyed nearly 40 years as a vehicle for the display of modern masculinity, its final issue running off the presses in 1990.
“Now, nearly 30 years later, we want to expose a new generation to Physique Pictorial. We have volunteers from across the country who are assisting in this endeavor, from design work to writing.”
– Dennis Bell, founder and president of the Bob Mizer Foundation
Who is Bob Mizer?
Robert Henry Mizer (March 27, 1922 – May 12, 1992) was an American photographer and filmmaker who was known for pushing societal boundaries in his work. His earliest photographs appeared in 1942, in both colour and black and white.
In 1947, he was convicted of the unlawful distribution of obscene material through the US mail. The material in question? A series of his black and white images of young bodybuilders wearing posing straps (g-strings).
Bob ended up serving a nine-month prison sentence at a work camp in Saugus, California for what now seems tame. At the time, however, the mere suggestion of male nudity was not only frowned upon, but also illegal.
In this way, Bob became a true trailblazer. He went on to build an empire based on his beefcake photographs and films. He established the influential studio, the Athletic Model Guild (AMG) in 1945.
By the time he published the first issue of Physique Pictorial, he was operating the studio on his own at his home near downtown Los Angeles. With assistance from his mother, Delia, and his brother, Joe, he photographed thousands of men, building a collection that includes nearly one million different images and thousands of films and videotapes.
The return of Physique Pictorial
The first issue of Physique Pictorial in 27 years will be published in early-August 2017 and will include features both new and familiar to longtime readers.
Each quarterly issue will prominently feature a spread of a popular Bob Mizer model, with accompanying biographical information. The magazine will also display profiles and portfolios from other up and coming modern-day photographers who embrace a focus on the male physique.
The new Physique Pictorial magazine also will run regular feature stories that explore other elements of the male physique photography genre in general and Mizer’s world specifically.
Issue #42 will include the first in a series on the history of 920 Larkin Street in downtown San Francisco, a building currently housing a magazine and vintage printed materials store, and will be the new home to the Foundation in the coming months.
“We want to maintain the artistic integrity of the original publication while updating it for a 21st century audience,” Bell notes. To accomplish his goal Bell brought in Seattle art director Frederick Woodruff to forge the magazine’s graphic design.
A former creative director for CBS TV, Woodruff jumped online in the late 90s and created two of the Internet’s most popular destinations for gay men, the websites Nightcharm and Lurid Digs. But in 2017 he was eager to shift his focus.
“When Den approached me I was so eager to step back into print,” Woodruff notes. “Creating something tangible that people could hold in their hands, put on their coffee table or take to bed with them – that excited me!
“Dennis and I were committed to preserving Mizer’s spirit with the return of Physique Pictorial, and that meant a simple presentation, without a lot of flourishes. Highlighting the beauty and power of the male form was always Bob’s priority and we’re continuing that standard – but with a bit more graphic pizazz this time around.”
Bell added: “We strive to meet that goal in all we do here at the Foundation – to foster enthusiasm for the art of Bob Mizer, which was revolutionary and even illegal in his time, but which is experiencing a renaissance today. MIzer was also known for being generous in his efforts to promote other artists and give them a place where their work could be recognized. We are thrilled to be able to extend that tradition here as well. This continuation of Physique Pictorial is an homage to Mizer’s art and its lasting effect on our culture and on masculinity.”
Each issue of Physique Pictorial will cost $20. The Bob Mizer Foundatios website will begin taking preorders in the coming weeks (link below) with issues to be shipped in early August. Supporters of the Foundation also may purchase back issues of the original Physique Pictorial at the Foundation’s online storefront.
About the Bob Mizer Foundation
Located in San Francisco California, the Bob Mizer Film Archive is the world’s largest repository of original moving images documenting the twentieth century underground physique movement.
Spanning five decades (1942-1992), the Bob Mizer Foundation Archive documents the evolving landscape of Postwar sexual mores through the lens of pioneering artist Bob Mizer. With over 3000 film masters and one million still images, this immense body of work was directly and indirectly instrumental in overcoming legal obstacles to basic human rights regarding censorship and enjoyment of basic personal freedoms.
The Bob Mizer Foundation is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of progressive and controversial photography. It is their belief that the most disputed works of art are the most important to the progress of society.
The Foundation spurs thought and discussion through the protection and dissemination of photographic material that has been discriminated against, censored or otherwise marginalized.
For more information – and to pre-order the upcoming new issue of Physique Pictorial magazine, visit the Bob Mizer Foundation website.