Bruce Bellas (1909-1974) was born in Alliance, Nebraska and was a chemistry teacher before taking up photography. He set out on road trips through America's heartland, photographing farmhands, athletes, soldiers, and sailors along the way, and eventually made his way to California, where he began shooting bodybuilding contests all along the coast. As his career blossomed, he branched out into color work, 8mm films, and 3-D slides, and by the 1960s had succeeded in publishing his own magazine, The Male Figure. He died in 1974, leaving behind one of the most comprehensive photo archives of the time. Vince Aletti reviews photography exhibitions for The New Yorker's Goings On About Town section and writes a regular column about photo books for Photograph, as well as occasional features for publications including Aperture, Art + Auction, and others. He was the art editor of the Village Voice from 1994 to 2005, and the paper's photo critic for 20 years. He is the winner of the International Center of Photography's 2005 Infinity Award in writing. He has written essays for a number of art books, and has curated and co-curated shows at
"Bruce of LA's kitschy camp pictures of mid-century American beefcake continue to inspire a generation."