Colt Studios Founder Jim French Has Died
Colt Studios founder Jim French has passed away at the age of 84.
He will be remembered for helping to popularize the hypermasculine aesthetic that remains prevalent in gay adult films, to this day.
Jim French, the male physique photographer who pioneered new standards in masculinity through his images and drawings, has died. He was 84.
According to his partner, Jeff Turner, French dies peacefully in his sleep on Thursday evening, June 15.
French was perhaps most notable for founding the Los Angeles-based gay pornography company COLT Studio. The studio celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
French is survived by his partner, as well as many friends.
For more vintage Colt Studios imagery, head to Boy Culture!
Writing for The Huffington Post, Steve Drum reflects on Jim French's legacy:
Jim French began Colt Studios in the late 1960s, beginning the most successful empire of male nude imagery since Bob Mizer’s Athletic Model Guild. The gay community had just torn its way out of the Stonewall Inn and into the public eye. The U.S. Post Office had just lifted its ban on male frontal nudes passing through the mail system. Under the pseudonym “Rip Colt,” French created a sleek, visual language for worshipping the male body.
Today, French’s images have become icons of a singular moment in gay history: post-Stonewall and pre-AIDS, post-beefcake and pre-VHS.
“Let’s face it,” one user posted on a Jake Tanner fan page. “Before the advent of VCRs, we had Colt. Period.”
French sold his rights to Colt Studios in 2003. And when the company changed hands, the men of Colt went from looking like golden gods to looking... kind of like everyone else. Much has been said about the artistry of Jim French, but what about the men French captured in his lens?
John Pruitt, Carl Hardwick, Pete Kuzak, Steve Kelso, Gordon Grant. Before I flipped through the catalog of Colt names, I hadn’t even realized the effect Colt’s faces and bodies had on the fantasy world of my own awkward adolescence.
Since the days of Jim French, sexual stardom has become a self-made industry of amateur Xtube stars, requiring only a camera phone, an accident, an ex-lover’s scorn, or a rough weekend. Even our higher-end porn stars can be possessed through Facebook and Twitter, until there isn’t a shred of intrigue between “us” and “them.”
But Colt was born of an era of fantasy, its men existing only in French’s photographs. There is a tradition of these communication gaps between gay men, the narrative always broken into disparate eras with disparate priorities.
Click here to continue reading, "Mystery Men: The Real Guys Behind the Myth of Jim French’s Colt Studios"
H/T: Boy Culture