Renowned photographer George Platt Lynes captured images of various men, including friends, professional models, and struggling actors, in a series of private, full-frontal nude photographs. Among his subjects were notable figures like Russian immigrant Yul Brynner, who barely spoke English upon arriving in America. Brynner, who later became famous for his role as King Mongkut in The King and I, modeled nude for Lynes before making it big in Hollywood.
Capturing Athletic Figures
In addition to photographing established actors, Lynes captured images of young gymnasts such as Charles ‘Tex’ Smutney and Charles ‘Buddy’ Stanley III. Years later, Lynes donated many of these photographs to the Kinsey Institute, where Dr. Kinsey questioned how the models managed to avoid sexual arousal during the shoots. Lynes’ longtime lover, novelist Glenway Wescott, revealed in his memoirs that the models did experience erections, but off-camera. While Buddy’s whereabouts after posing for Lynes remain unknown, Tex went on to have a successful career as a choreographer and dance teacher.
Jack Fontan: The Naked Sailor
Jack Fontan, another of Lynes’ subjects, was discovered by a talent scout in a gym and went on to win a small role in the 1948 Broadway production of South Pacific. Known to gay theater-goers as “The Naked Sailor,” Fontan performed in cut-off jean shorts without underwear, giving those in the front rows frequent glimpses of his genitalia.