Mid-Century Male


May 22, 2019 through October 20, 2019

John Palatinus, one of the pioneering physique photographers of the 1950's. He helped create a whole new genre of male photography. He was a major influence on Robert Mapplethorpe and may be one of the last living photographers from the 1950's golden era of physique photography. 

He was one of a handful of photographers who documented the male body through photography of semi-naked, body-proud weightlifters of the time. His first shoot was done in 1951 in his own living room in Indiana. Palatinus crafted his own photographic style which was recognisable by his use of light and minimal background. The pictures echoed Palatinus' influences, who included Horst P Horst and George Platt Lynes, while documenting a sub-culture of body perfection and hyper-masculinity that emerged in the post-war era.

His photographs were published in numerous bodybuilding magazines of the era, most notably Tomorrow's Man, a pocket-sized publication featuring males with posing straps or other coverings for their privates.

Curation/Production by Vicente Ugartechea.