Legends Fall


Saturday June 22 will be the funeral of Jim French.  I’m sure a big chunk of my readers know this and also know who Jim French is.  What he was was simply the best erotic photographer, ever.  Ever.



Mike Betts

He started a called a business called “Colt Studios” in 1967.  The Post Office had recently lifted the ban on sending pictures of hard dicks through the mail.  French was a man in the right time.


Doug Perry


Can you ever have too much Doug Perry?  Nonsense.

Before him, gay smut was black and white with whatever trashy hustler/rent boy the photographer scraped up that day.  French shook all that up.  His early work is klutzy, understandably, but once he got his footing, goodness, how everything changed.


Ray Mars

For one thing, French was a good photographer with a background in shooting fashion.  His lenswork was admirable, crisp and well balanced, but his real talent was lighting a set.  Never had bulging muscles been so three dimensional, cocks and asses gleaming and inviting.  And he was interested in their faces too, which other photographers never even looked at.  His only weakness was in posing his subjects.  There’s a lot of classic body-building style or stiffly interacting with some prop that’s sort of quaint.



Jerry Haymes

One of his best and most frequently reused pose, is where he is on the ground beneath the model, shooting up at those mountainous titties.  The pose didn’t do much for me, but I recognize it for what it is: worship.  His best shots were the models lounging around looking supernaturally gorgeous.  Every muscled honed to perfection and symmetry as perfect as a plumline.


Billy Herrington

The real zenith of Colt was being reached right at the time I was flaming out into la vie homosexual and many, many of Colt’s models matched the creatures who populated my fantasies.  Good heavens, how thrilled I would be to find a new Colt magazine at the dirty book store.  With no internet, Colt’s magazines were the best thing we had   Even now, 30 years later, Colt Studios, which French sold in the 90s, still use images from those long gone glory days to flog their merchandise.  Sometimes I look around in the Castro and think “Some of these little old men in their cardigans and knee braces, shuffling home to feed the cat were the godlings French aimed his lens at.”


Mike Timber

I’m illustrating this with my favorites, I know many of you have your own.  I encourage you to dig them out on Saturday and remember the man who made them possible.  And then rub one out.

10 responses »

    • Exactly. And yet, in a story I ran across abut some guy trying to track the models down to see what’s up, almost all of them just asked to be left alone. One explained that when French approached him, he had never heard of Colt Studios and so thought it would be an amusing way to spend some time, and make a few bucks. But then the internet came along and his past never goes away.


  1. One of my nerdiest college pals back in the ’80s had the misfortune to be named – in real life – Mike Betts. The comparison, sadly, did him no favors.

    And the hours one spent, once upon a time, leafing through those magazines at the local gay bookshop. Giovanni’s Room in Philadelphia was very patient about that sort of thing…


    • The thrill of it all. The internet, for all its many features, will never equal the squalid excitement of standing in a small mob of other homos studying the newest issues and trying to look blase and cool about it.


  2. Thank you for naming him – I have to confess that I did not know his name. He seems to come from fashion, and knows how to use light. He “sculpts” them in a way.


    • exactly. And the work of his competitors at the time looked like they were using Instamatics, Plus, to be fair, it was hard to find skilled, or even competent printers who would take on the work.


  3. I came across (not literally, despite the subject matter) Jim French’s photography after its time, somewhat unfortunately. The men, while certainly impressive, always seemed awkward, uncomfortable (as you point out), and a little dated, and so never did it for me.

    Having said that, Mike Timber in that last photo looks VERY relaxed and comfortable. Maybe I should do a bit more “research”…?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s