Palm Springs Pride Honors John Palatinus

Greater Palm Springs Pride awards honorees were chosen because they best represent this year’s Palm Springs Pride theme: Justice today, equality forever.

For one of the Lifetime Achievement Award winners at this year’s Palm Springs Pride, activism came second to his art. John Palatinus is one of the first beefcake photographers of the 1950s, photographing young, male bodybuilders, carefully posing them to conceal the models’ genitals. Palatinus was tried and convicted for conspiracy in the 1950s after the U.S. Postal authorities and the New York City Police Department broke into his home and confiscated his work.

“Maybe you might call me an accidental activist,” Palatinus said. “I just wanted to take beautiful photographs of beautiful men. I’m delighted, overwhelmed and deeply honored that they’ve chosen me. I guess I didn’t realize that many people feel that I was a pioneer….”

Photographer Palatinus signs one of his most famous images. (Courtesy John Palatinus)

Continuing his artistic work, Palatinus now travels internationally to several gallery openings hosting his work, including in Barcelona, New York, London and Buenos Aires and Palm Springs. He said they always include discussions at the local LGBT centers.

A Palm Springs resident for 14 years, Palatinus said he and his partner moved to the desert because they were eager to be a part of another gay community. “We came out here basically because we experienced a wonderful thing of what gay people can do for a town in Key West in the ’70s,” he said. “That’s an exciting time to be in a gay place,” Palatinus added. “I think gay people are responsible for reviving Palm Springs.”

Gay Dan Diego, 11/04
Palm Springs Pride Honorees highlighted
By Anthony King | GSD Editor

John is a member of Tom of Finland Foundation and a copy of his body of work is available for students and the public to view at TOM House in Los Angeles. Congratulations, John, on your Palm Springs Pride Lifetime Achievement Award. Thank you for sharing yourself and your Beauty.

“Beefcakes and Boundaries” – 10/28 – LA



In the same pioneering spirit as many others who have packed their bags and headed west, Photographer Bruce Bellas, or Bruce of Los Angeles as he came to be known, arrived in California in 1946 and immediately began challenging the norms of acceptable society. With post-war conservatism growing, Bruce of Los Angeles photographed Muscle Beach’s most beautiful male bodies and published an extensive body of homoerotic work during a time when institutionalized homophobia was the norm. His pin-up images of the male physique pressed the boundaries between art and obscenity. Having influenced contemporary photographers such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Bruce Weber, and Herb Ritts, Bruce of Los Angeles is regarded as a “creative force in the establishment of the modern homosexual identity.”

This exhibition will showcase a collection of “The Male Figure” the physique magazine Bruce of Los Angeles published himself and original prints of the his extensive body of work as well as exhibit the work of contemporary artists who’ve found inspiration in the classic style and boundary breaking approach that mark the contribution Bruce of Los Angeles made to art as we know it today.

Opening Reception: Friday, October 28 · 7:00pm – 11:00pm


Austin Young
Lindsay Scoggins
David Tamargo
Bodega Vendetta
Leo Herrera
Daniel Trese
John Parot
Jesse Finley Reed
Margie Schnibbe
Ariel Dunitz Johnson
Orlando Tirado
Johnny Coleman
John Arsenault
Miguel Angel Reyes
Ian O’Phelan
Adrian Gilliland
Jasten King
Juanita More!
Kyle Sweet
Ellen Schinderman

Pop tART Gallery Los Angeles

3023 West 6th Street
Los Angeles, California

Bruce of LA biography