Printed with permission of Bob Mizer Foundation, Inc . Physique Pictorial, volume 7, number 1, 1957
In Los Angeles in 1945, photographer Bob Mizer founded the Athletic Model Guild, a sort of home for wayward and hunky boys who didn't mind having their unclothed photos taken in the company of other men. Physique Pictorial, a small, half-sheet-sized black and white zine, was the house publication and sales tool, and it created a wide audience for both Mizer's photographs as well as the drawings of Finnish artist Touko Laaksonen. Mizer assigned Laaksonen the easier-to-pronounce pseudonym Tom of Finland, and under that name, Laaksonen's drawings became some of the most iconic images of gay erotic art.
MOCA Pacific Design Center is running a show of images from Physique Pictorial as well as images from Mizer's and Tom of Finland's private collection, through January 26. L.A. Weekly sent a team of three very different observers -- a gay man, a straight man and a straight woman (this writer and two of her male friends) -- to have a look at the show, and share their perspective on four of Tom of Finland's images.More »