eye on the guy

“Eye on the Guy: Alan B. Stone & the Age of Beefcake”

A Pioneer

Amos Lassen

Alan B. Stone was an astute businessman, quiet suburbanite and master of the homoerotic pin-up. “Eye on the Guy: Alan B. Stone & the Age of Beefcake” looks at the little-known world of Montreal’s physique photography scene – a distinct gay subculture that emerged in the ’50s and ’60s – through the life and work of one of Stone.

Before the first wave of gay liberation, and long before Calvin Klein, Stone took hundreds of erotic photos of men and running an international mail-order business from his Montreal basement.

The film tells about his life, times and achievements in a short, but comprehensive film. It consists of vintage footage, old pictures, and varied interviews that reveal a quiet photographer and businessman, suffering from excruciatingly painfully arthritis since his late teenage years but who became his time’s master of homo-erotic photography, while remaining in many ways a common man living in the suburbs. Even though he loved the suburbs of Montreal, he also loved the city itself. He quietly revolted against the moral conventions of post World War II Canada, exposing the beauty of thousands of body builders, fishermen, construction workers, cowboys, and the like, at a time when extreme discretion was required. His “muscle” magazines of the 50s and 60s gave way to the openly porn gay films and magazines that followed.

These ‘beefcake’ pictures (as they were called) were the porn of that time. before Playgirl, et al came into being. It was only when Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau declared in 1967 that the government would no longer have a role in the bedrooms of Canadians that the full frontal porn we know of today took off.

The sheer volume of his work was amazing and artfully done. Montreal had been a center for male-physique photography in the ’50s and ’60s. But aside from the male-physique photography, Stone captured a broad spectrum of other subjects in his work. He also did extensive travel and landscape photography and he seemed to have a sense of humor in much of his nude work. Some of the photos are great fun.

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