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Thursday, October 20, 2022

Colorful Don Whitman-WPG in the Rockies


Don Whitman of Western Photography Guild did some fine studio work and a ton of excellent black and white pieces, both indoors and out.  It is his outdoor color work, however, where I think he really stands out from the crowd.  His Rocky Mountain backdrops of rocks, sky, and trees really grab the viewer when he drops in a perfectly positioned handsome model.  It is also worth noting that his models have described him as always being patient, kind, generous, and a perfect gentleman.  We start the show with a posing strap photo of a man on a rock with a rope.





 

9 comments:

  1. When a photographer took a group of models to an "away" situation, how did they get there, and who paid for housing, meals, etc.! And we're the males paid for posing?

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    1. In Mr Whitmans, from what I have read (Mountain Men a book about Mr. Whitman and his photos and Western Photogrphy Guild website run by his family are very imformative) most of his models were from Denver so it was just a matter of commuting to him. The outdoor location was a scenic valley near Denver . As far housing and meals, Don would put models up at a motor-court (motel) and would treat them to meals at a
      popular local restaurant. What they were paid is a big question, I have really have no idea, I have read anywhere from as little as 5 dollars for an unknown (local guy with a bod) to as much as several hundred for well the known models (ie Glenn Bishop or Steve Wengryn). Physique photographer Denny Denfield in the mid 40's /eraly 50s would hit the beaches in the San Francisco Bay area and offer a bottle of beer or soda pop for well built men to pose for him !
      Jerry perhaps you tell us what the pay scale was.
      -Rj in the IE

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    2. Thanks, Rj, for the very interesting details. I wish I knew more about the model pay scale, but I've seen only passing, not well documented comments about it.

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  2. Jerry, you've made my day! Don Whitman's stunning outdoor colour photos (and stunning models) are just the thing to brighten up a grey, wet day here in the UK. Really looking forward to this.

    Peter

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  3. Ah, the infamous Don Whitman posing strap which was invariably at least two sizes too small and left nothing to the imagination, thus defeating its purpose. I cannot believe it wasn't deliberate - and his models went along with it. That he was never, to my knowledge even threatened with prosecution, most probably because he worked with bona fide bodybuilders on the circuit and his talent got him the best. Mr Whitman pushed the envelope at a time when the letter needed posing home and we owe him a debt, not merely for his prolific talent but for the part he played in bringing senseless censorship to an end.

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    1. He was a genius photographer, and a very clever man when it came to dealing with the repressive laws early in his career. He did indeed know exactly how far he could go early in his career. Your comment about legit bodybuilders is spot on, and Mr. Whitman actually founded some early competitions in the Denver area. Needless to say, he sponsored and promoted them as well.

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