Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Muscle Daddy

From an album of real photo postcards collected by one Albert Edward Pritchard come an assortment of 43 strongmen, both famous and anonymous. We know little about Mr. Pritchard. His address in New Cross, Southeast of Central London, is little over half a mile from Carlton Studios, where most of the photos were taken by P. W. Luton.

One card is identified as A. Pritchard.

For a muscleman it is a strange, almost non-pose. Palms up, fingers cupped slightly. Perhaps he's flexing his biceps but it seems more like he's approaching-- slowly, timidly, as a supplicant. Which brings us to that face. Sweet. Almost pretty. His slightly furrowed brow seems to ask: "Is this OK?" On his lips the barest hint of a Mona Lisa smile.

If this photo was taken around 1920 and he was maybe 20 years old, Mr. Pritchard is now, according to my calculations, 108 years of age. How strange to see him frozen in time, in his youth, in his prime. To hold these photos as he once held them. To gaze at the images of male beauty that he assembled in his album more than 80 years ago. Makes me wonder.

More photos to come...

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