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California Boys: Photographs from the 1960s and 1970s Hardcover – October 1, 2000

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 204 pages
  • Publisher: FotoFactory Press; 1st edition (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883923484
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883923488
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 9.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,810,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


...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 info@fotofactory.com.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Joseph J. Hanssen on November 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's like going back in time to view these photographic images of young males from the 60's and 70's. I am so glad that this first collection of Mel Roberts' work is finally in print. These images of young men were taken at a time when no one was pressured to be defined as gay, straight or anything else, just who they were. It was a time of change, experimentation in love, as well as life-styles. These decades were a time of love and great change for all of us. Some of these young men are nude and very handsome, but the most interesting photos are of the men in the style of clothing for that period of time; tight white pants, sailor outfits, really short-shorts, paisley prints, jeans and leather. You'll find your average guy next door here, and your drop-dead handsome guy who should be in movies.
Mel Roberts began photographing models toward the end of the classic physique period in 1959. He wanted to show the male model in a natural environment and that's where you will find all of these models posing in this book. He felt man is part of nature. There is a wonderful introduction to this volume covering the photographic career of this unique photographer that developed over a period of 20 years. This is a wonderful look at this time period of male photography especially if you grew up at this time and were part of that generation. These color photographs are like sitting and looking at someone's personal photo album. So different than the all the other male photography books on the market. A rare treat. I hope he releases more photos in future editions. This is a very limited edition that should be part of your collection. Fascinating!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ch0pper on July 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Wow!! Does this book ever recapture those seemingly inncocent days of the 60s and early 70s?
Some wonderful models, wonderful locations and most of all a wonderfully bright and sunny California sky. Most of the photos have a warmth of light that simply glows from the page..
This book is like the Beach Boys but in photographs and not songs. The images convey a simple innocence and enjoyment. The haircuts and clothing takes you back to those easier, less frenetic times.
The poses range from the very formal style of the 1950s, to the informal 'snapshot' from 1979. The models are, for the most part, not the hulks seen in so many American physique photos, but rather more evryday types of guys. The emphasis is on the young, and if you have a hunkering for the blond surfer type, you won't be disappointed.
Well worth buying.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Rod Hunter on January 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
You will have the most fun with this volume of Mel Roberts' work, if you pick it up without any expectations. It's been over 20 years since Roberts' work has been available to the public, and the collection here is different than any other collection of his work in the past, which mind you, were put out by the author with whatever funds he had available. This time, the guy's got a small-press publisher behind him footing the bill, so there's a sleekness to the presentation that never existed before.
What I loved the most about this book was not the models, or the settings, though both are beautiful and interesting, but the most intriguing element for me was that Roberts' work seems to have captured an innocence of a "time," a time which will never be again. So many photographers today are trying to photograph that "retro" look, and failing miserably at it. Mel Roberts has done it because he was there doing it, capturing the essence of the 1960s, in the 1960s. Besides, the whole thing is very erotic, a must have for serious collectors. I've already bought 3 prints from the book and plan to buy more! Bravo! to Mel Roberts and whomever (FotoFactory Press) had the inspiration and intelligence to bring this man's work out of the woodwork!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Earl R. Sutton on August 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"Mel Roberts' witty buoyant Technicolor pictures of Southern California beach bunnies (hopping down to the beach, hoisting themselves out of sparkling pools) captures all the giddy delights of being young during summertime, it's not all high camp."

- The New Yorker

"An absolute gay treasure!"

- LA Weekly
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