...there is something awkward and tender about these naked boys...a visual history of one big gay love-in, California Dreamin'. -- Los Angeles Times Book Review, December 17, 2000
A connoisseur's vision of sun-lovin' West Coast men. -- Interview Magazine, December 2000
Before Bruce Weber, Tom Bianchi & Herb Ritts, there was Mel Roberts! -- Hero Magazine, November 2000
If that sun-kissed era ... can truly never be captured in words, then Roberts' "California Boys" demonstrates that spirit in pictures. -- Unzipped Monthly, December 2000
Mel Roberts did it first! ...each boy whether high-school football player or surfer..., exudes an air of... unabashed sexuality. -- Detour Magazine, December 2000
From the Publisher
David Sprigle, the founder of FotoFactory Press, first saw the photographs of Mel Roberts in an installation Mr. Roberts mounted in a San Diego gallery in the early 1990s as part of a large show on erotica. David was taken by the expressive youth of Mel Roberts' models and the vibrant clarity and color of these photographs taken in the 1960s and 1970s.
It was over a simple spaghetti dinner, at Mel's Bel Air, California home a year later that the book and companion traveling exhibition began to take shape. Mel began to unwrap negatives, which had not been seen for over 30 years. Mr. Sprigle, a photographer in his own right, was impressed that Mel's photographs were so well executed and composed that they required no cropping or digital enhancement. None of the photographs in the book "California Boys" have been cut or altered in any way. A very few even contain slight defects and scratches created by Mr. Roberts himself, caused by the primitive dark room he used. During this era, commercial labs did not accept nude photographs of young men, so he had to develop the negatives himself.
The history of these special photographs and Mel Roberts' pioneering spirit continue to inspire us at FotoFactory Press. We are pleased to have published such a beautiful collection by the master of 1960s and 1970s California photography. A testament to this fact is that FotoFactory Press is currently in production on the second volume of Mel Roberts photographs titled "The Wild Ones: The Erotic Photographs of Mel Roberts" which will be available in July 2001. This volume can be pre-ordered at email@example.com.