Bob Mizer’s mid 20th century photography helped shape the modern aesthetic and even some of the civil rights and censorship laws that we commonly take for granted today. Whether you know it or not, you have been affected by his work. His classic images of muscled young men are reflected in today’s advertising campaigns, but in the 1940s, these types of photographs landed him in prison. Artists like David Hockney used his images as models for their own work. And many major Hollywood stars began their careers in Mizer’s studio including sword-n-sandal film star Ed Fury, Glenn Corbett of Route 66, Andy Warhol’s protege Joe Dallesandro, and even former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In 2003 through a series of fortunate mishaps, photographer and filmmaker Dennis Bell made the decision to keep it together and acquired the remainder of the estate from the storage locker. This happened just before it was slated to be completely split apart and sold off, forever removing this material from the public eye. He founded the non-profit Bob Mizer Foundation and became the new guardian of Mizer’s work.
He continued his mission by tracking down the important parts of the photographic archive such as 2500 videotapes which had been stored on a back porch in southern California, and thousands of films that were sitting on pallets in a hot warehouse and returned them back into the estate, which is now protected under the Foundation.
For the past 8 years, Bell & the Foundation have overseen the careful organization and restoration of a portion of this material, and have released it back to the public in various forms.