The little known color work of AMG's Bob Mizer
Bob Mizer famously spent 48 years making photos and films for his Athletic Model Guild, and 41 years publishing Physique Pictorial, America's first, and most explicitly gay, physique magazine. His diaries, kept from the age of eight, make it clear that he was openly homosexual from his late teens, but until the age of 42 he lived and worked in his mother's Los Angeles rooming house, where his strict code of ethics prevented him from fully expressing his fantasies. Therefore, for the first 24 years of his career he worked in black and white and was careful to never show a man fully nude, but following his mother's death in 1964 Mizer rapidly built a kingdom dedicated to the pleasures of male flesh, where he photographed entirely nude men in psychedelically saturated color.
In the 1970s and '80s Bob Mizer's compound, centered around the old rooming house, became home to dozens of his young models, who lived outdoors on couches and porch gliders along with chickens, geese, goats and monkeys, Roman statuary, cast off Christmas trees and every conceivable prop for his increasingly quirky films and photography.
Sometimes called the Hugh Hefner of gay publishing for his pioneering magazine (republished in entirety by TASCHEN in 1997), Mizer influenced figures in art and society in similar ways as Hef, from David Hockney, who said one of the two reasons he first came to America was to meet Bob Mizer, to California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who modeled for Mizer in 1975.
Bob's World: The Life and Boys of AMG's Bob Mizer is the first book to celebrate the full color, uninhibited second half of Bob Mizer's career. Over 250 vivid photos are accompanied by an oral history, with contributing artists David Hockney, Jack Pierson and John Sonsini, photographers David Hurles and Hal Roth, models Ben Sorensen and Andrew Sears, and Wayne Stanley, inheritor of the Mizer estate. The book includes a one-hour DVD of Mizer films, spanning 1958 to 1980, specially edited for this edition.