about john palatinus

John Palatinus is one of the pioneering early physique photographers of the 1950's.

Along with Lon of New York, Bruce of Los Angeles, and Bob
Mizer of Athletic Model Guild he helped create a whole new genre of male photography.

Palatinus was noted for his use of light and shadow to
highlight the topography of the male physique. He used
clean light-washed backgrounds to clearly define the
figure at a time when some photographers were using
kitschy sets and props.

Palatinus was born in South Bend, Indiana in 1929 and
lived & worked in that area as a window display designer.
 During this period he attended Indiana University.

In 1954 he began photographing the young bodybuilders of
South Bend. His work first appeared in "Tomorrow’s Man,"
a pocket-sized bodybuilding magazine that featured the same
type of young male physique.

A move to New York City came in 1956 where he had a
studio on West 13th street in Greenwich Village.
He continued to be featured in "TM" and did a thriving
mail-order business, selling his photographs nationwide.

Beginning in 1958, Palatinus started shooting and selling
full-frontal nude photos through the mail. This proved to be
an unfortunate move. His "Village" studio was raided by the
US Postal Inspectors in cooperation with the New York Police
Department. All of his photographs, original negatives,
cameras, lights and equipment were confiscated, never to
be returned. John Palatinus was very effectively put out of
business. After a trial, he was convicted not of distribution
of so-called pornography, but of conspiracy, a misdemeanor
charge, and spent no time in jail.

John Palatinus now lives in Palm Springs, California and
may be one of the last living photographers from the 1950's
golden era of physique photography.