Sunday, October 2, 2022


Here we have a trio of men with some prickly pear cactus 
and what appears to be a trio of Italian cypresses.



  1. It never ceases to amaze me that back in the 19th C, photographers were able to get guys to strip naked and pose for them. The amount of male nude photography that was accomplished in the first half of the 20th C is impressive under the circumstances. As someone born in the 1950s and raised in a small town, I had no idea any of this was going on. Boy, did I miss out!

    1. Being of the same generation as yourself, I should note that we were born in one of the most repressive eras of American history in terms of the depiction of male nudity. Perhaps predictably, it transitioned into one of the most permissive eras in the late 60s. Oddly, at the same time they were arresting photographers for distributing frontal male nudes, they were still packing us into gang showers and holding nude swim meets. Go figure.

    2. True but it's the fact that so many guys were willing to pose naked or in a posing strap that amazes me. That it was going on in the 19th C is hard for me to get my head around.

    3. In a lot of ways, the 19th C. was more open minded than the mid-20th on nudity, especially when it came to art and photography. Posing nude paid good money for men whose other options were usually hard physical labor. One of the pivotal US court cases in the 60s involved Chuck Renslow of Kris Studio successfully pointing out that several of his photographs were basically the same as some 19th C. pieces in a Chicago museum.

    4. Perhaps in the 19th century, photographing the nude male figure was seen more as an extension of art. The figure was seen more as an ideal form? There was, I assume, far narrower distribution of these nude images. Such a pity that this fairly liberal attitude didn't continue. Especially with so many young men experiencing the freedom of nude exercise. I'm so glad grew up in the period of group showers and the occasional nude swim. Visits to art galleries with my parents. Fully understanding the difference between art, social and sexual nudity.

    5. You makes some excellent points, David. Thanks for commenting in detail.

    6. New media, makes for new opportunities .
      Yeah, it was a half-scandal to pose for a nude statue...but, accepted.
      Photography in it's infancy was novel and fun.
      Many had seen pics, but not understood the magnitude of their impact to come.
      Polaroids, allowed the Naughty back in, as you didn't have to 'send them in.'
      Digital provided the same wave of public naughtiness, but, only amongst those you permitted.
      The internet, took it to another level.
      (When you post a pic and a miner in Wales, gets back to you and says, he "tossed one off," over those balls....well )

    7. The circus entertainers, sold nude pics as souvenirs, for added income.
      It was mostly understood, men would show them at stag gatherings and drum up business...(sometimes kids only found them, after the parents died.)
      Many were discarded as naughty, before the digital age could preserve them.

    8. "...and my love he has stolen away."

      I guess it's harder to believe because by 1940, circuses were for children. (That's the year Robin and the Joker made their debut, for the unaware: Robin in Detective Comics 38, and the Joker a couple weeks later in Batman 1: American comics are released 1/4 of the line every Wednesday, with a quarter of the line getting a special the fifth Wednesday of every month with a fifth Wednesday. Robin was definitely intended for kids, hence Robin's Regulars and similar segments. The Joker was...not, as a performance criminal. This would actually start a circus connection throughout the years in the Big Two, though much less so in Marvel, where I can only think of Spider-Man and Hawkeye.)

      But I guess the more erotic side of the circus was still apparent: Buster Crabbe in 1933's King of the Jungle, for instance, challenges the Hays Code right out of the gate, though Tarzan and his Mate is more famous for doing so.