The Bob Mizer Foundation is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of progressive and controversial photography. It is our belief that the most disputed works of art are the most important to the progress of society. We intend to spur thought and discussion through the protection and dissemination of photographs that have been discriminated against, censored, or otherwise marginalized.
Bob Mizer began taking photographs as early as 1942, first experimenting with self-portraits and later moving to the boardwalks of Venice beach to capture images of body building competitions. His early works, while not as polished or perfected as his later photographs, laid the groundwork for a career that would span 50 years. From the time of his first foray into professional photography in 1945, with the establishment of the now infamous Athletic Model Guild, until his death in 1992, Bob Mizer focused his lens on the male form, drawing ire from the religious right, law enforcement, and even the federal government. The images he produced, while provocative at the time, were by no means explicit, but nonetheless lead to years of legal battles and a near half century of personal anguish.
In May 2010, The Bob Mizer Foundation Inc. was established for charitable and educational purposes as a public non-profit foundation committed to promoting and preserving the life works of progressive and controversial photographers, often denied access to mainstream venues — a mission driven by the need to preserve Mizer’s archives, which include hundreds of thousands of photographic works, equipment, props, sets, and his remaining personal effects. In addition, the foundation holds works by some of Mizer’s contemporaries and successors, including George Quaintance, Bruce Bellas, and Dave Martin, and plans to mount photographic exhibitions by artists producing works that visually, politically, or otherwise push mainstream societal boundaries.