Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Unknown beefcake, some with clues, some without

As I've noted before, I downloaded hundreds of uncaptioned, unattributed images during the last days of nudity on the old tumblr site.  From time to time, I put them out there in hope that someone will fill me in, and I'm often pleased by the helpful responses.  So here we go again, and there are even some decent clues in some of today's group, such as this serious young man with his foot on a late 50s-early 60s dinette chair.  Don Whitman of WPG used those extensively, but they only made about 20 million of them, so it's not like some other photographers couldn't have used them, too.



  1. He looks grim. I wonder if he's one of those males who posed solely for the money and was not happy being naked. Jerry, do you know offhand if men who posed full frontal or erect got more money than men who didn't?

    1. Interesting question, B.D. I don't really know, but it makes sense in some ways. What we do know is that a lot of these guys did it solely for the money. On the other hand, more than a few heterosexual competitive 40s and 50s bodybuilders happily posed nude to get high quality "legit" photos made for magazines and promotional materials even though they knew the limited number of nudes (often frontal) were being pitched to gays. Dan Lurie even joked about this latter phenomenon in his autobiography.

    2. I can't now quote my sources - duh - but I distinctly remember reading that there was definitely a going rate for different categories of nudity. It was, if I remember correctly, in an article about John "Butch" Davidson, a marine based in San Diego, who would go south to San Francisco and Los Angeles on the weekends and earn some pocket money before hitting the town. There was a going rate for torso shots, underwear shots - clearly provided by some of the photographers - posing strap and then nude, which would be distributed before legalization by mail order, and later, after legalization, when full-frontal was publishable. This is why it is difficult to date some of the nude images that appeared sometimes ten to even twenty years after being taken. Many of the soldiers, sailors and marines did this - as, in fact, they do today - following an introduction by a confrère. John Davidson, with his military haircut is the perfect example of this, in that one cannot date many of the photographs from the hairstyles if the models were not civilians - and the odd number of one-shoot only models - with clearly fabricated biographies and ridiculous names - who posed. John Davidson made a minor career out of it, most did not. But yes, there was definitely a gradation in pay for the amount of flesh exposed.

    3. Thank you, Calorman. I had wondered about that, and you clarified it most excellently.