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In the United States and the Western democracies, however, efforts at censorship have become somewhat more subtle, often centering on questions of the public support for art and on the protection of the innocence of children rather than involving outright bans against the creation or distribution of gay or lesbian art.

In the 1960 and 1970's many straight men wanted to get naked in front of a camera. Worst, a dozen or so female photographers came on the scene to photograph nude males. It was as if pictures of naked men had been wrenched from the hands of gay people!

The response of the homosexual community was bemused humor and self-congratulation for being, as always, ahead of the curve when it comes to the taste of the straight world.

The greatest change of the era was a move to colored photography. With color came new possibilities. Hairy chests photograph a lot better in color, and it took a while for men raised on pictures of smooth chested men to adjust to men with hair. With coming of photos of hairy, naked men came the discovery of "bears," and a whole new "sub" culture was formed in gay society.

Color photos also had the appearance of being more "user friendly." Naked men in color were somehow more "cuddly," less stark, and not as artistically cold. They had the "boy next door" quality assuming one ever saw the boy next door naked. In no time naked men in full color would be appearing by the thousands on birthday, greeting, holiday, and even Christmas cards.

The 70's ended with photographers like Robert Mapplethorpe and Andy Warhol whose work raised the art of male nude photos to a new level. With photos such as these being on public display, we closed the 1970's confident that the coming decade would be far better than the previous two.

It took over 100 years, two world wars and a lot of determined photographers to get back to the Classical and Renaissance views of male beauty. It's unlikely that the male nude image will be covered up again any time soon.

We will show you here some of the pictures we found from the beginning of the photographic art to the 1970's. We hope you will enjoy them.

(From articles by: David Leddick, Craig Kaczorowski, Ken Gonzales-Day, Jason Goldman, et alii)

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