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70s Male Nudes: Roy Blakey's 70s Male Nudes Hardcover – Jul 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Goliath Books (July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3980760219
  • ISBN-13: 978-3980760218
  • Product Dimensions: 26.3 x 21.3 x 1.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 857 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,255,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Publisher

Master of Light and Shadow

I remember very clearly the first time I saw a photograph by Roy Blakey. It was the fall of 1979, and I had just entered The University of Tennessee as a freshman. While working on a paper for a class, looking for back issues of a magazine in the university’s Hoskins Library, I found a series of bound volumes of After Dark. I’d never seen or heard of the magazine, but as soon as I opened the first volume from the early 1970s, I was captivated. In one issue, a photograph showed a beautifully lit frontal nude of a gorgeous man with tousled blonde hair, kneeling, arms up. He was looking directly into the camera, unashamed. It was an advertisement for Roy ’s book of male nudes, HE.

Published in 1972, HE was a groundbreaking book. Male nudes had by then appeared in other photography books – including those by Kenn Duncan, George Hester, Skrebneski and David Vance – but always published alongside female nudes. Blakey’s book, devoted solely to male nudes, stood in stark relief.

This was a bold step for a man who’d grown up in tiny Enid, Oklahoma. At an early age – while watching "Sun Valley Serenade," starring the legendary ice champion Sonja Henie and her company of skaters – Roy was profoundly struck with the wonder of ice skating. He began collecting newspaper clippings and magazine articles about ice shows and wrote to famous skaters for autographed photos. Determined to skate, but without an ice rink nearby, Roy became a champion roller skater. After graduating from Enid High School in 1948, he enrolled as a commercial arts major at the University of Tulsa – near a rink where he could finally train on ice.

Drafted into the U.S. Army in 1952, Roy was stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany, as a mail clerk for an anti-aircraft unit. He achieved the rank of corporal, and bought his first good camera in the PX there, snapping pictures during his three-day passes. In 1954, after two years of mandatory military service, Roy’s dream finally came true when he joined the ice skating show at the Casa Carioca nightclub in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

He returned to the United States in 1956 and joined the ice revue of the elegant Boulevard Room at Chicago’s Conrad Hilton Hotel. He also took his first courses in photography and housed a makeshift darkroom in his hotel bathroom. In 1961, he joined the company of Holiday on Ice and performed in nearly 40 countries on extended tours through Europe, Russia, the Far East and Latin America – always with his camera and darkroom in tow.

Retiring from the frozen stage in 1967, Roy stopped in New York for a three-day visit that stretched into 25 glorious years. He and his makeshift darkroom took up residence in a loft above Billy’s Topless on Sixth Avenue, where a host of entertainment stars and hopefuls ascended the stairs to Roy’s studio to have their photographs taken. All the while, Roy was creating the masterfully lighted male nudes that comprise this collection.

One early forum for Roy’s nudes was the short-lived magazine Dilettante, which described his "distinctly different camera perspective" as evidence that "photography as an art form and the male nude are not strange bedfellows." Befitting a magazine called Dilettante, the writer continued: "He is at once the Praxiteles and the Rembrandt of photographers; his camera freezes forever a fleeting moment of male beauty into a stylized, sculptural, universal artistic pattern, and his dramatic use of light and shadow reminds one of the Dutch master, so striking is its dramatic intensity."

Michael’s Thing was no less reserved in its assessment of Roy’s landmark book: "HE is easily comparable to any book of photographs printed by anybody at any time, and I believe it is the best – and by that I mean the most artistically successful example of modern nude photography in book form. As an example of male nude photography it has no artistic peer. Nothing superior has ever been produced."

Gene Thornton, photography reviewer for The New York Times, wrote in March 1973 about Roy’s exhibition at the legendary Continental Baths: "There is nothing coy or inviting in their looks and poses. Though they are totally nude, some of them frontally so, their expressions and poses are more or less out of modern dance. And though there is always something sexy about modern dance – there has to be, with all those trim young bodies – every effort is made to concentrate the attention on Higher Things. The same is true of Roy Blakey’s pictures. They are Artistic. So far as is possible, they transform the young male body into an esthetic rather than a sexual object."

It took some digging, but not only did I eventually find a much-sought-after copy of HE; ultimately, I found Roy Blakey, as well. One night while checking my E-mail, I searched the AOL member directory and came up with a hit in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I drafted a brief note, stating that if the recipient was the famous photographer of male nudes, I was a fan of his work, and that I believed it deserved to be exhibited and published again. A reply came back to me the next day, and our friendship began.

Over the next several years, I made a number of trips to Minneapolis to work with Roy, unearthing the gems you see here. During that time, not only have we worked shoulder-to-shoulder – we’ve become dear friends. He has been exceedingly kind in repeatedly crediting me for what he calls his "resurrection," but the fact is that none of this would have been possible without Roy’s unique vision, his passion behind the camera and his skills in the darkroom. He is, after all, not only the creator of these images, but also the magician who has brought them to life on paper.

I consider myself blessed to be the magician’s assistant.

Reed Massengill New York City

About the Author

BIOS

Roy Blakey currently resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he works as a commercial photographer and shares a studio space with his niece, photographer Keri Pickett. His first book of photographs, HE, was a landmark collection of male nudes which he self-published in 1972.

He is a former professional figure skater and the founder and curator of The IceStage Archive, the preeminent private collection of rare and important ephemera and memorabilia documenting the colorful worldwide history of theatrical skating. He is also an avid collector of Asian art and antiquities with a particular love of the cultures of Thailand and Japan.

He is eager to extend his heartfelt thanks to all who have given so generously of their time, talent, imagination, guidance, and encouragement to make his long-held dream of this book a reality.

Reed Massengill is the widely published photographer of three monographs of male nudes – Massengill (St. Martin’s Press, 1996), Massengill Men (Bruno Gmünder Verlag, 1997), and Brian: A Nine-Year Photographic Diary (FotoFactory Press, 2000). His images also have been included in a number of important photographic anthologies, including Exposed (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2000) and Male Nude Now (Universe, 2001).

As a writer, he is the author of the award-winning Becoming American Express, commissioned by the global financial services company to coincide with its 150th anniversary in 2000. His first book – the critically acclaimed Portrait of a Racist (St. Martin’s Press, 1994) – was a biography of white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith, convicted in 1994 of the 1963 assassination of Mississippi civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Portrait was nominated by its publisher for the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1994.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joseph J. Hanssen on Sept. 29 2002
Format: Hardcover
As Roy Blakey states in his forward, "BLAKEY'S RESURRECTION, just at first glance, might have made an arresting title for this book of male nudes, or perhaps the even more intimate "ROY'S RESURRECTION," and he further states, "Nevertheless, I definitely have been resurrected." He thanks photographer Reed Massengill, now a close friend, who helped him to secure a gallery exhibition and with the publication of this book. These male nude images from the 1970's have been stored away for many years. If you were coming-of-age in the 70's, you may be familiar with Blakey's work and the publication HE. I think it's great that his work is being exhibited, published and now is being introduced and made available to a whole new generation.

If you liked the look of the men in the 70's, you will likely enjoy these photographs as much as I did. They bring back many memories of that era, the long hair, the light bodies, the innocent looks and poses, and good-looking boy next door type male models. I think these photographs are beautiful for the simple reason that Blakey is a "Master of Light and Shadow." All of these black and white images are posed with no props. I believe the starkness of these images make the models more intimately sensual. Roy Blakey was a former professional figure skater and as you view these photographs you can clearly see the influence that this has had in the way he posed his models.

If the publication of this book is a dream come true for Blakey, then it is a dream come true for us as avid fans and collectors of male nude photography! I sincerely hope he continues to browse through his storage boxes and releases more of his photographic images for us to enjoy. A stunning collection!

Joe Hanssen
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Format: Hardcover
What a refreshing addition to the study of male nude photograpy! The men have nice, natural bodies without being "buffed and waxed." And believe it or not, they have hair, both on their heads--some actually have tresses to their shoulders-- and bodies. For that reason they look very 70's. They also look very innocent and appear to be having a good time. Some of them smile directly into the camera. I couldn't help but ask the question though-- there is no information given about who these models are-- as to how many of them are still alive today.
All the photos are shot in a studio with incredible lighting. Some of my favorites are found on pages 53,54 and 104.
Reed Massengill, who edited this book, remembers the first time he saw a Blakey photo in a short-lived magazine of the 70's called "After Dark." I remember fondly my first enconter with that magazine as well. I still have all my copies somewhere. (It was the rag that the now Governor of California chose for his full monty spread.) Mr. Blakey to his credit was shooting male nudes when almost nobody else in the U. S. was. This book, however, is much more than just a nostalgic picture of life before the awful 80's. These beautiful photographs will endure.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Resurrected For Our Enjoyment! Sept. 29 2002
By Joseph J. Hanssen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As Roy Blakey states in his forward, "BLAKEY'S RESURRECTION, just at first glance, might have made an arresting title for this book of male nudes, or perhaps the even more intimate "ROY'S RESURRECTION," and he further states, "Nevertheless, I definitely have been resurrected." He thanks photographer Reed Massengill, now a close friend, who helped him to secure a gallery exhibition and with the publication of this book. These male nude images from the 1970's have been stored away for many years. If you were coming-of-age in the 70's, you may be familiar with Blakey's work and the publication HE. I think it's great that his work is being exhibited, published and now is being introduced and made available to a whole new generation.

If you liked the look of the men in the 70's, you will likely enjoy these photographs as much as I did. They bring back many memories of that era, the long hair, the light bodies, the innocent looks and poses, and good-looking boy next door type male models. I think these photographs are beautiful for the simple reason that Blakey is a "Master of Light and Shadow." All of these black and white images are posed with no props. I believe the starkness of these images make the models more intimately sensual. Roy Blakey was a former professional figure skater and as you view these photographs you can clearly see the influence that this has had in the way he posed his models.

If the publication of this book is a dream come true for Blakey, then it is a dream come true for us as avid fans and collectors of male nude photography! I sincerely hope he continues to browse through his storage boxes and releases more of his photographic images for us to enjoy. A stunning collection!

Joe Hanssen
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Bodies By God Rather Than By Gold's Gym! Jan. 12 2004
By H. F. Corbin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a refreshing addition to the study of male nude photograpy! The men have nice, natural bodies without being "buffed and waxed." And believe it or not, they have hair, both on their heads--some actually have tresses to their shoulders-- and bodies. For that reason they look very 70's. They also look very innocent and appear to be having a good time. Some of them smile directly into the camera. I couldn't help but ask the question though-- there is no information given about who these models are-- as to how many of them are still alive today.
All the photos are shot in a studio with incredible lighting. Some of my favorites are found on pages 53,54 and 104.
Reed Massengill, who edited this book, remembers the first time he saw a Blakey photo in a short-lived magazine of the 70's called "After Dark." I remember fondly my first enconter with that magazine as well. I still have all my copies somewhere. (It was the rag that the now Governor of California chose for his full monty spread.) Mr. Blakey to his credit was shooting male nudes when almost nobody else in the U. S. was. This book, however, is much more than just a nostalgic picture of life before the awful 80's. These beautiful photographs will endure.
A Pivotal Body of Work Dec 14 2008
By Michelle7 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
70's Male Nudes is the direct result of the recent friendship between Roy Blakey and Reed Massengill. It was almost an accident that the two even met, but when they did, Massengill was quick to remember the extraordinary influence that Blakey had on him. It was 1972 when Blakey self-published his first book of male nudes titled HE. It was a landmark event, for very few publishers at the time were interested in putting out a book of male nudes. The naked female was well accepted but the male body was still somewhat taboo. Blakey helped shatter that belief and paved the way for the many others that followed through the years, including Massengill.

Blakey graduated from the University of Tulsa, served a stint in the Army (where he bought his first camera at the PX), and later ice skated professionally for over a decade. He developed as a photographer throughout his military and skating career, often setting up darkrooms wherever he happened to be stationed. When he retired from skating in 1967, Roy moved to New York City and set up a studio and darkroom in his loft on Sixth Avenue. Over the years, countless men, including many celebrities, posed for him. It is this period of work that is presented in 70's Male Nudes. Massengill helped Roy in bringing 70's Male Nudes to publication, serving as both friend and editor. Now, thankfully, the whole world can again see that spellbinding studio work created by an artist who plugged away crafting a masterful body of work while the rest of the world lay hypnotized by Playboy.
Flashback to natural men! July 29 2005
By D. Korzinski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Being born in 1970, I missed out on the natural men of the 70's. I can remember crushes on the natural looking men of the era, but was much to young to realize the erotic value or to even see many nude. This book showcases the wonderful men of a time that I missed out on! The average, but very hot, bodies of Blakey's models are wonders of real life and not the bulked up gym bunnies so overwhelmingly predominant in art photography of recent years. The photos are extremely well done with a variety of types of men from street looking to professionals...all with a relaxed and casual attitude that shows through in the pictures. I enjoy this book a lot and will surely be going back to look at it repeatedly many times in the future!


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