So It Begins... | Bob Mizer: Early Work 1945-1955

So It Begins... | Bob Mizer: Early Work 1945-1955


June 1 - July 29, 2023

Opening Reception:
June 1, 2023
6 - 8 PM PST

Main Gallery
Free to Members and the Public

The first exhibit to open in The Bob Mizer Foundation’s new downtown headquarters will introduce visitors to a selection of the photographer’s earliest postwar images.

So It Begins....Bob Mizer Early Works, 1945-1955, which runs June 1-July 29, 2023, reveals an artist that is largely unfamiliar to even his long-time admirers. Before the Athletic Model Guild became a name well known to male physique photographers, in the years immediately before and during the founding of AMG’s flagship publication Physique Pictorial, the subjects of Mizer’s photographs represented a cross section of Americans who were as far from the tanned, muscular and masculine models who would come to be synonymous with the Mizer name. “These were regular, everyday people,” says Den Bell, the Foundation’s founder, president and CEO. “He shot portraits of elegant women in pearls and full makeup. Young men whose faces were horribly scarred. Fully nude, obese men. These are images that are certain to surprise the viewer, but also to spark a conversation about an artist finding fascination among that which is traditionally unremarkable.”

Bell says that the theme of the exhibit is a logical one, given the Foundation’s arrival at its new headquarters, the former location of long time paper and ephemera merchant The Magazine, which closed permanently this past spring. In the weeks since The Magazine’s closure, Foundation leaders and volunteers have been moving the collection of Mizer’s slides, negatives, images, films and costumes into the building, as well as planning and preparing for the exhibit. “This event is about beginnings,” Bell explains. “It’s a celebration of the beginning of Mizer’s half-century career and the beginning of a new chapter in the life of this organization.”

Bell says he hopes visitors will learn something new about Bob Mizer and the evolution of his work. “We want our audience to forget the Bob Mizer they thought they knew,” he says, “and enjoy the breadth and depth of his experience.”