Everybody knows that Bob Mizer was the King of Beefcake. He was a pioneer in the world of gay photography, and an unwitting champion of gay rights. For many men, publications like Mizer’s Physique Pictorial were the only exposure they had to a larger gay community. It was through Physique Pictorial that they learned the coded language of mid-century homosexuality, and found the inspiration for their unspoken fantasies. It was as much a wank aid as a cultural phenomenon, and like most cultural phenomena it’s influence was expansive. David Hockney, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Bruce Weber are just a few of the most recognizable artists to note Mizer’s work as inspiration, but they’re not alone. In this month’s OUT, Bruce Benderson and seven big-name photographers, among them Matthias Vriens, Pierre et Gilles, James Bidgood, and one-time AMG model Jack Pierson reflect on the magazine that started it all. Check out their homage to AMG at OUT.com or for nostalgia sake get up off your ass and go by one on the newsstand.
Featured images by James Bidgood (left) and Jack Pierson.