PRINT March 2003


1982: Bruce Weber for Calvin Klein

Sometimes an athlete or actor thinks he’s so much more beautiful than the way I see him. But it might have been his nose that I was in love with.

—Bruce Weber in Bruce Weber (Knopf, 1989)

WHEN HIS PHOTOGRAPH of a muscular young man in nothing but white briefs appeared on a Times Square billboard in August 1982, Bruce Weber was nearly as unknown as his model, a pole-vaulter named Tom Hintnaus, who took a break from training for the Olympics to help launch Calvin Klein’s new line of men’s underwear. Weber had set Hintnaus against a whitewashed wall and photographed him from such a low angle that he appeared not just heroic but magnificent: a colossus looming over a crossroads. The photographer, a former model himself, had a reputation for turning jocks into demigods, but he’d never done it on such a spectacular scale, or to such stunning effect. Virtually overnight, the billboard—and the

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