Inventing the California Boy

These mid-20th-century photographers and artists created utopian images of young California men that formed an ideal.

BY Christopher Harrity

June 29 2013 4:00 AM ET

Bob Mizer, Bruce Bellas, Mel Roberts, and Harry Bush all contribued to the mythology of a youtful, free lifestyle in Southern California with their idealized photos and illustrations depicting golden, muscular young men. Their models ranged from rough and real (Bob Mizer) to Olympian perfection (Bruce Bellas) to freewheeling sexual revolutionaries (Mel Roberts) to innocent and outrageous (Harry Bush.)

They all contributed to a culture of youthful body awareness and sun-filled sexual possibility. Not only were the men they portrayed imitated by other young men in the know, but their estabished studios drew hundreds of young men from across the nation to come to the Golden State and be reborn as California boys.

On the following pages, a selection of images and biography of each artist.

Tags: Art

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