Los Angeles

Bob Mizer

Western Project

I’d love to know exactly what was in the heads of model Ray Robirds and photographer Bob Mizer during the shoot in which Robirds, his right arm slung around a burro’s neck, sports nothing but a sombrero, striped briefs, and fancy cowboy boots. Robirds puffs out his chest, plants his legs—tan lines dazzling—in a defiant stance, and glares into the beyond, his face full of the confidence that is no small part of what makes this low-budget South-of-the-Border fantasy so appealing. Did Mizer find the model’s physique so prepossessing that awkward accoutrements didn’t matter, or did he know that topping the immediacy of the makeshift with a dollop of humor is a recipe for sexiness?

Mizer founded AMG (Athletic Model Guild), the first male model photography studio in the United States, in Los Angeles in 1945. Initially he enlisted the help of two business partners, but, as Timothy Lewis writes in

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