Thursday, April 4, 2019

Calafran Studio

Photographer J. Brian and publisher Bob Damron founded Calafran Studio in San Francisco in 1967 in the wake of the liberalization of U.S. obscenity laws.  (Those of you of a certain age will no doubt remember the Damron guide book for all things gay across the U.S.A.)  Calafran published magazines in a cheap 5 by 7 inch format, including Golden Boys and Times Square, and they also sold sets of photos early on.  Although several archivists state that other photographers besides J. Brian worked for Calafran, I can't find any of photos credited to them by name.  Today I am posting five pictures that are not labeled as J. Brian's and not obviously magazine pages.  
We start with this rather sullen looking young man.


  1. The scandalous male nudes! Not an erection among them and the photographers still got harassed, fined, and even jailed for daring to take a picture of a penis. It still amazes me what those artists went through.
    Thanks for bringing these to us!

  2. The boy is shy. And he looks very young. Is he at least 16 years old?

    1. Most likely. At the time this photo was made, full nudity was legal, but they were enforcing an age 18 age limit. Guys did lie, though.

    2. I had a friend (now deceased) who started very young for photographers who published in Calafran and similar publications. When he did it in the 60s, Ohio's age of consent was 14. That's probably why some guys look so young. The text going with the photo may say that the model is 18+, but in what state was the photo taken? Then some photos that are out there today, according to my friend, were never meant for publication and sold to private individuals because they were illegal under then-current obscenity laws. Then there was the 60s sexual liberation. My late friend said that some parents thought it was chic and avante gard to let a photographer take nude shots of their sons. He stated that one popular nude model in the 60s was the son of the California Speaker of the House. He supposedly started his nude modeling career at 14! Who knows the truth?