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Friday, April 8, 2022

The Bill D. Collection - Kensington Road

Kensington Road - The Studio Quality Built - Catalogue Three

The history of the Kensington Road marque is sad, interesting, and a bit confusing.  Bruce Bellas suffered from heart disease and died of  it while on vacation in Canada in 1974 at age 65.  At least one account of Bruce's death says that he was on a road trip photographing cowboys at the Calgary Stampede when he passed.  Scotty Cunningham (who modeled for AMG under the name Steve Buono) was with Bruce at the time of his death and had been his lover, caregiver, and professional assistant for a number of years prior.  The entire Bellas estate, which included some nice real estate and the Bruce of LA archive, went to Scotty.  Here is my scan of Bob Mizer's report on Bruce's death which appeared in  Physique Pictorial, Volume 26:


Mr. Mizer got something other than just the spelling of "succumbed" wrong in his piece.  Bruce's business did continue for a time, albeit under a new brand name, that of the road where his home studio was located.  Virtually all accounts agree that Scotty Cunningham was the force behind the new marque, but one online auction site refers to a photographer named Kurt Deitrick as being involved.  While there was indeed a 1970s photographer of male nudes by that name, his work was rather nondescript, and I have never seen anything but Bruce's material labeled as Kensington Road.  Perhaps he consulted or helped Scotty in some way.

When I posted a complete issue of Physique Pictorial a few weeks ago, I mentioned that the publication was a thinly veiled promotional venue for Bob Mizer's photo and movie sales.  Kensington Road  clearly labeled itself as a catalogue.  As you will see, the advertising element in KR is handled in a more tasteful way without nearly the level of clutter and busy overlays.  (Also without the very interesting commentary provided by Mizer.)  And as with PP, I am posting this catalog in its entirety without comment.

So, thanks to the generosity of Bill D. of California, 
the full issue of Kensington Road Catalogue Three follows this.

4 comments:

  1. I've been curious as to who Kurt Dietrick actually was and how he fitted into the Bruce organization - I purchased pics from him for a while and then one day I got an announcement that he was moving his whole operation to London England - I got a few more brochures and then he seemed to disappear- his brochures used the exact font and format that Kensington Road did and he included some well known models along with unknowns - he had Lance, Greg Rome, Rick Donovan, Tim Kramer and Shawn Mayotte under their own names- plus David Ashfield/Jay Matson, Jon Erich/Hans Mueller, Chris Williams/Todd Dunning, Gavin Burke/Rob Montessa, Chris Thompson/Michael Chris, Peter North/Matt Ramsey and Vinnie Marino/Ray Acosta/Don Arden - these guys all did videos for other well known studios of the day so he must have been high enough in the business to be privy to the upper tiers of working models at the time - I wondered at the time if he got in trouble with the law or if it was some kind of dispute with the Kensington road folks - the pics seem to go for a pretty penny these days and i wonder who has ownership of the negative files

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    1. Thanks for the details about Kurt Dietrick (or is it Deitrick?) and his model list. As I noted above, his work is not widely seen in the usual search engine results for vintage male nude photography.

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  2. Anyone have any information to what became of Steve Buono/Scotty Cunningham?

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    1. Good question and one that I had thought of. My other hobby is genealogy, and I used some pretty good search sites looking under both the names Scotty went by. I had no luck, leaving me thinking both were pseudonyms.

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