Mel Roberts "Rich Indio" 1963. Singed and numbered. Estate Edition 11/50. 16" x 16"
Mel Roberts (American, b. 1923) is a photographer and activist who captured the spirit of the California Dream that lured thousands of gay men to the Golden State in search of freedom and opportunity after World War II. 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. Here, Roberts depicts his friend Rich Thomson in Indio, California, a desert resort town commonly referred to as "the Hub of the Valley." 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. Roberts' work is also distinguished by his interest in fashion styles and trends in pop culture. His models often wear cut-off jeans, flower-power bell-bottoms, and love beads. They pose by the backyard pool on op-art towels and recline in bed on zebra-print sheets.
Donated By Classic Art Forms