Rare find direct from the estate of the late Bruce of L.A. MALE FIGURE #36 from 1966 digest sized Magazine, or "Zine". Carefully stored for years. Own a piece of true gay history.
Has never been in public circulation, very good condition with very minor crease upper left corner, and very minor wear on back cover edge, as seen in photos. From the Bruce of L.A estate.
Bruce Bellas, AKA Bruce of Los Angeles, is known as the grandfather of physique photography, influencing seminal image-makers like Robert Mapplethorpe and Herb Ritts. Continuing a new series, Miss Rosen looks at the man behind the photographs
Adopting the name Bruce of Los Angeles, Bellas became the pioneer of beefcake photography at a time when homosexuality and depictions of full frontal male nudity were illegal.
What made The Male Figure stand out from it's competitors was it's bold graphic design. The use of a flat field of color in the background with a black and white figure in the foreground gave their early covers a unique look.
Bruce of Los Angeles was shooting pictures of handsome young men clothed and unclothed but those prints were never exhibited. They were only exchanged under the table quietly and literally kept in the closets of their owners. It was an exciting time in Hollywood and there were gay people in the industry but it was still a time to be discreet and careful.
Bruce operated above board in all things, taking great strides to establish himself and his brand of beefcake in an openly antagonistic world. In 1948, he obtained his first California business licence and set to work photographing model Leonard Chambers, who was simultaneously posing for Bob Mizer at AMG Studio. Inspired by the work of photographers like Lon Hanagan, George Platt Lynes, and Herbert List as well as the bodybuilding scene down at Muscle Beach in Venice, Bruce began publishing his work in physique magazines by Joe Weider and others.