Troy Saxon is one of the few physique stars to move from the front of the lens to behind it — Bob del Monteque is the other big name in that category, with Frank Hollfelder taking a distant third. It is said that Al Urban was a bodybuilder before he became a photographer, but pics of the man are rare (or nonexistent – I haven’t seen one that I’m aware of). Even Bob Mizer posed for his buddy Fred Kovert, but that was most likely while Bob was actively taking his own snaps (though before the advent of “Physique Pictorial”). Some models sold their own photos, but not necessarily ones they took themselves.
While Troy was a model in his own right, he is mostly known as a photographer. This issue of “Grecian Guild Studio Quarterly” presents a wide spectrum of his models — boys-next-door to hunky weightlifters to the stud in-between, it is a fun overview of his work. There are also 3 poses of Troy himself, including the centerfold.
New on 11/11/03! Well, it looks like we have to take a different look at these pictures now, guys! Just after this page went online, long-time member Sizeup wrote in to the v-m-p YahooGroup with the clarification that Troy Saxon did not take these pictures — they are actually the work of Stuart Rosenberg! He wrote —
Hi. “Troy Saxon” was the model [the studio was named after]. He was not the photographer.
Stuart Rosenberg (hope I spelled it right) was a photographer who specialized in schoolboy sports. He was based in several cities in the U.S. Midwest. I guess he enticed the cream of the crop of schoolboy wrestlers and such in front of his camera.
Intrigued by this news, I wrote him back and asked “Can you tell us anything else about the relationship between Saxon and Rosenberg? Was it just business, or was this a romantic partnership? Did Troy take care of the business end, or was he just a “figurehead”? Why was Rosenberg hiding behind someone else’s name? So many questions…”
Sizeup wrote back — I read what I wrote after I sent it, and a phrase I used could have been misleading. When I said “Saxon” named the studio, I meant that the model’s “name” became the studio name, not that the model had any active role.
I assume that a high-school sports photographer had to be a bit discreet. He stayed out of the limelight, as did many a physique photographer in those dangerous days. Walter Kundzicz knew him well … Walter is the one who told me about some of his later misfortune, including the destruction of the bulk of his originals.
His early 60s Troy Saxon Gallery magazines (not to be confused with Colt’s Gallery series) were magazines I always wanted to see and never did. Anyone got a copy of them anywhere? (There were at least 2 issues, and they included color work, I believe.)
As far as I knew, Rosenberg was “it” … I never heard about anyone else.
That’s not much extra info, Alan, but I hope it helps.
It helps a lot, buddy! Any info we can squirrel out about these “lost in the shadows of time” artists is extremely valuable. A sidebar to all of this — I was looking through a couple of magazines yesterday, when I found a couple of shots of Mr. Saxon in a copy of “Grecian Guild Pictorial” #36 (June, 1962). The blurb under the first photo read — TROY SAXON, in photos by his friend Pinky, offers PICTORIAL readers natural, relaxed poses of himself. This is amateur body-building and amateur photography at their best. Eight 5 x 7’s for only $4. Send to: Troy Saxon, 2103 S. 71st St., West Allis 19, Wisconsin.
So, I would say that from now on we need to think of these photos as “Troy Saxon Studio” photos, and remember who was the man behind the camera — Stuart Rosenberg.
Originally published on the (regrettably, now down) v-m-p.org website
CORRECTION: This was the best available knowledge when written in the early 2000s, but Bob has learned since that Stewart Rosenberg was the exclusive photographer. See our correction post for more information.