Bob Mizer Residence and Studio | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Laura Dominguez/L.A. Conservancy

Bob Mizer Residence and Studio

Photographer Bob Mizer was born on March 27, 1922 in Hailey, Idaho. Mizer was best known for his images of bodybuilders and for exploring American masculinity through photography. In 1945, he founded his own studio at his home in Pico-Union, known as the Athletic Model Guild (AMG).

It was at this studio that Mizer began publishing Physique Pictorial, which was one of the first magazines to circulate erotic photographs of muscular men. In order to gain widespread distribution, Physique Pictorial marketed itself as a fitness magazine, even though its photos were targeted to an underground audience of gay men.

The nature of these photographs was considered to be so graphic at the time that they attracted the attention of law enforcement. As a result, Mizer was arrested in 1947 for taking nude photographs of a seventeen-year-old model and was sentenced to six months in prison.

Today, the Craftsman-style residence is a contributing building to the Pico-Union Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) and the South Bonnie Brae Tract Historic District (National Register of Historic Places). 

Mizer's studio work, including Physique Pictorial, inspired many artists around the country, one of whom was was Robert Mapplethorpe.

Mapplethorpe was one of the most renowed and controversial photographers of the 1970s and 1980s. His expansive body of work ranged from portraits inspired by classical nudes to photographs that documented the gay BDSM community in New York.  

In addition to inspiring photographers such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Physique Pictorial served as an important platform for many other well-known gay erotic artists, including Tom of Finland

Photo by Douglas Hill/

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Photo courtesy Heritage Housing Partners

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