Sunday, March 25, 2012
Classic Male Nudes, Champion Studio and Walter Kundzicz
With the recent proliferation of blogs and websites featuring vintage beefcake photographs, even casual enthusiasts can very quickly acquire a massive collection of digital images.
If you're not a bibliophile like me - with books covering the horizontal surfaces of nearly every stick of furniture in the house - then the question must be asked: why purchase a photograph or book someone else has likely already scanned and made accessible online for free?
Goliath Books provides its answer with its "Goliath Wallpaper of Fame" magazine book, "Classic Male Nudes," the second in its series of very big, unbound books that open up into poster-size photographs.
This book features nine 16.5" x 23.4" color photographs taken by Walter Kundzicz, the man behind Champion Studio. Kundzicz also pens an autobiography that will fascinate anyone interested in the world of physique photography in the United States, when images of nude adults were illegal. Kundzicz writes of his encounters with police raids, court trials, crooked cops, mobsters, outraged religious and political groups and much more on his journey to becoming one of the most famous physique photographers.
The nine posters are of Chuck Steury posing outdoors with Ernie Mathews, Doug Jackson strumming a guitar, Walt Covert hunting shirtless, Bo Branden wearing scuba gear in a bathtub, Sven Holm fishing, John Eaton pretending to be a cowboy, Tore Lind wearing red sweatpants, Gale Harper holding hands with Mike Pohl, and Tore Lind wearing a posing strap.
When you flip over the posters, you can arrange them into a life-size poster of Patrick Berglund flexing and wearing a white posing strap.
If you are in the habit of reading what I write alongside the photographs I post on this blog, then you know I am a great fan of blonds and anyone with tattoos, so it's no surprise I especially like this magazine book for the clarity of its photographs of Tore Lind.
Digital images can be accidentally deleted, misfiled or otherwise lost forever. The stream of ones and zeroes comprising every digital image never appreciates in value.
We bibliophiles tend to be passionate collectors of books whose subjects interest us. We enjoy the tactile experience of paging through books. And we know great picture books can gain value over time.
I also like knowing each new purchase of this book directly benefits Kundzicz, who is one of the few vintage beefcake photographers alive today and who has sadly been separated from his vast archive of material - a subject he touches on in this book and whose final chapter I hope has yet to be written.