The legendary photographer Bob Mizer’s career really took off in 1947 when he was convicted of the unlawful distribution of obscene material through the US mail. He had always been one who was known for pushing boundaries in his work, and in an era when the mere suggestion of male nudity was not only frowned upon but also illegal, his series of images of young bodybuilders wearing only what were known as posing straps, landed him a nine month jail sentence.
At his studio the Athletic Model Guild (AMG) which published the classic magazine Physique Pictorial Mizer photographed thousands of men, building a collection that includes nearly one million different images and thousands of films and videotapes. In those early days, he was helped by his brother Joe and their mother Delia, although exactly whether role in all of this, is not very clear.
There were other photographers in the 1950’s that specialized in taking beefcake images, but Mizer’s iconic work is still the most recognized and best know from that period. There have been several books published of his work, and then images below are from Bob Mizer: AMG, 1000 Model Directory published in two volumes from Taschen.
P.S. Check out The Bob Mizer Foundation that preserves and sells images of Mizer’s enormous portfolio.