Behind The Lens With Founding Editor Bill Dobbins


Over time, as I used to be shooting photos for magazines like Muscle & Health and Flex, significantly of the newly rising phenomenon of feminine bodybuilding, I additionally noticed the potential of making wonderful artwork pictures of those unimaginable our bodies.  Within the a few years since images was invented, nearly any topic you’ll be able to consider has been photographed time and again, making it troublesome to do something actually new, distinctive and thrilling.  Now, abruptly there was a topic that had by no means existed earlier than, so creating distinctive photos of those ladies was simple to do.

Additionally, no matter “artwork” is (and there’s plenty of debate about this) it definitely ought to contain altering the viewer’s notion and understanding of the world.  So, I started to focus on displaying the world how particular and important these aesthetically muscular women actually are. In that regard, I beginning doing pictures whereas imagining how they might look on the wall of a museum or gallery – or, because it turned out, in wonderful artwork photograph books.

Since Louis Daguerre launched images to the world in 1839, there have been billions of images created.  As a result of the female body has been the object of art since a minimum of 35,000 years in the past, it’s not shocking that this identical topic shortly turned a favourite of photographers.  I’ve little question {that a} photographer acquired a digicam in the future in 1839 and the subsequent day requested a lady he admired to pose.

Yolanda Hughes-nude however not nude. Invoice Dobbins

After I turned Founding Editor of Flex Journal within the early Eighties, there was a revolution beneath approach within the sport of bodybuilding.  Beginning in 1977 ladies had begun competing in muscle contests for the primary time.  Charles Gaines, creator of the long-lasting guide Pumping Iron, known as this sort of physique a “new archetype” – one thing by no means seen in any tradition at any time or place in historical past.  My view was that each women and men compete in most sports activities so now each women and men have been competing in bodybuilding.  I took this as a easy matter of reality.

Female bodybuilder and muscular woman Dayana Cadeau
Dayana Cadeau in a pose from the traditions of artwork historical past. Invoice Dobbins

I shortly understood that these ladies introduced me with a beautiful alternative as a photographer.  With all the pictures that had been taken, together with all the images of ladies’s our bodies, no pictures of aesthetically muscular females had been shot as a result of this sort of physique had merely by no means existed earlier than!  So, I discovered myself within the state of affairs of the primary sailors who got here throughout a landmass they later named Australia – I abruptly had a completely new inventive continent to discover and doc.

Fully new – as a result of from the time of the traditional Chinese language and Greeks to the period of Michelangelo and past, there is no such thing as a proof of the existence of aesthetically muscular ladies as a result of females merely by no means did bodybuilding-type coaching that may create this sort of physique.

Female bodybuilder Dayana Cadeau posing against a mirror
Typically artwork is about educating our notion with uncommon photos. Invoice Dobbins

So, there I used to be within the early Eighties as a photographer on the proper time and place to doc this newly rising cultural phenomenon.  As a result of the our bodies have been new, each photograph I shot of them was new.  From the start, I intentionally began referencing inventive approaches from the previous.  I might use Greek statues or work of ladies from the previous as a place to begin.  I might shoot these extremely outlined muscular our bodies the best way Ansel Adams photographed a panorama.  I fairly consciously mixed very “female” parts with feminine hyper-muscularity for distinction.  I appreciated to shoot “horny” pictures of ladies with the form of feminine muscle that almost all don’t affiliate with female attraction.

Female bodybuilders wearing bikinis and suntanning in the desert
Artwork as a approach of adjusting notion – Sunbathing on the seashore, however 200 miles from the water. Invoice Dobbins

By way of tradition and sociology, the emergence of this new form of feminine physique calls into query a lot of our deepest assumptions in regards to the feminine physique, sexuality, the bodily capabilities of ladies, morphology, gender id and the position of ladies in society.  In different phrases, aside from demonstrating how muscular some females can grow to be (and take a look at a lineup of feminine Olympic sprinters to see how this has unfold), these ladies symbolize an vital cultural phenomenon.

Female bodybuilder and Ms. Olympia Lenda Murray posing on the beach
Lenda Murray within the surf. Invoice Dobbins

In recent times I’ve had two wonderful artwork books revealed (Taschen, Artisan), exhibited in two museums and a number of other galleries and had my feminine muscle pictures revealed in magazines everywhere in the world.  However actual revolutions take time.  After tens of hundreds of years of sure assumptions being made relating to the feminine physique, a few a long time of aesthetic feminine hyper-muscularity usually are not sufficient to create fast change.  Tradition is just not a speedboat that responds shortly to steering enter.  It’s a massive container ship the place modifications in steering take a very long time earlier than the vessel begins to truly change course.

In fact, I’ve created wonderful artwork pictures with male topics as nicely.  I’m emphasizing my work with ladies as a result of they’re a brand new topic and occupy a novel place in photograph and artwork historical past.  From the traditional Greeks to Michelangelo and past, now we have seen hundreds of examples of wonderful artwork that includes male topics. Akin to seen right here of 6-time Mr. Olympia Grasp’s Champion, Vince Taylor.

Mr. Olympia Vince Taylor in a pose suggested by the Sistine Chapel
Artwork following artwork: Masters Mr. Olympia Vince Taylor in a pose prompt by the Sistine Chapel. Invoice Dobbins

I really feel vastly privileged to have been available with a digicam when ladies with our bodies like this turned obtainable to {photograph}.  And I really feel the pictures I’ve created will probably be what historical past refers to in understanding how this phenomenon got here to exist.  My work has not been found by collectors within the artwork world, however that’s the best way of artwork.  When Picasso and Matisse have been first exhibited on the market in New York within the early 20the century their work now price tens of millions may have been bought for very small sums – however most weren’t offered in any respect.  There’s a large distinction between the worth the artwork market places on works and worth as assigned over time by the tradition.

So, if you wish to purchase a Picasso for a couple of {dollars} invent a time machine. You’re simply too late! The tradition has moved on.  It may do the identical when it comes to my pictures of aesthetically developed muscular ladies. If anyone is interested in collecting my art photos, they are still affordable.


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