Therapeutic Beefcake – Physique Pictorial, Fall 1954

History Comments
Therapeutic Beefcake – Physique Pictorial, Fall 1954

Bob Mizer was a genius, though quirky, photographer, but it’s his writing that proves what a truly bizarre man he was. The short political rants, the editor’s notes, even the basic editorial disclaimers that Mizer penned in the pages of Physique Pictorial, while necessarily cryptic, give some insight into the mastermind behind modern American male nude photography. In the opening lines of Physique Pictorial Vol. 4, No. 3, Mizer touts the benefits of reading Physique Pictorial:

While most other physique magazines edit their magazines almost exclusively with the bodybuilder in mind, Pictorial is planned as an art reference book, and is widely used in colleges and private art schools throughout the country. Our new Paris agent has just written us that the art colony there is receiving Pictorial most enthusiastically…Several psychologists and psychiatrists have told us that books such as Pictorial often have a highly beneficial effect on negative, withdrawn patients who become inspired by the extrovert enthusiasm and exuberance of healthy, happy athletes. It is our hope that everyone who sees Pictorial will become a little more conscious of his own body — more willing to live the clean, wholesome life that makes bodies such as these possible.

This from the man who would later be known for a library of VHS tapes that include the Anal Erotic Series, which focuses, and we’re talking close up, on that oh so polarizing sexual organ – the anus. We’re not saying that the flesh donut is insufficient inspiration, but it seems Mizer’s lofty posturing may have disappeared with the posing strap. For now, let’s savor the simplicity of Bob’s early work, with a gallery of photos from this, the physique magazine that will ease your troubled mind.