Mel Roberts

Mel Roberts (1923-2007) was an American photographer and activist who captured the spirit of California Dream that lured thousands of gay men to the Golden State in search of freedom and opportunity after the second world war. Unlike other physique photographers, Roberts’ subjects were not the perfectly proportioned bodybuilders, hustlers, or professional models common in the magazines of the time. His models were natural “everyday” young men who Roberts, first and foremost, had to know personally before photographing. The visual freedom expressed by Roberts, as an openly gay man in a time of oblique censorship, has highly inspired a tolerance for homoerotic portraiture.

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