Saturday, May 24, 2014

It is the long weekend here in the USA, with Memorial Day on Monday the 26th of May this year.

Vintage men of the past and vintage-style men of the present is the theme for this month, respectively and respectfully as a memorial for and tribute to these outstanding men.

Classical masterpieces of handsome completely natural masculine beauty.

Click on the photographs with landscape or horizontal orientations, (especially), for enlarged versions.




PBY Blister Gunner - Rescue at Rabaul - 1944.

Photograph by Horace Bristol. 
(Sepia and Black+White Versions, above and below.)
"What makes this photograph thrilling, powerful, and indicative of the purest and noblest sort of masculine beauty, is the story behind it, which can be found in the December 2002 issue of B&W Magazine, in an article about the man who took the picture, Horace Bristol.  He was a member of a World War 2 Navy unit of photographers, and thus ended up being on the plane the gunner was serving on, which was used to rescue people from Rabaul Bay (New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea), when this occurred:"
"... we received a call to pick up an airman who was down in the bay.  The Japanese were shooting at him from the island, and when they saw us they started shooting at us.  The man who was shot down was temporarily blinded, so one of our crew stripped and jumped into the water to bring him aboard.  (He wouldn't have been able to swim very well wearing his boots and clothes.)   As soon as we could, we took off.  We weren't waiting around for anybody to put their clothes back on.  We were being shot at, and wanted to get the hell out of there.  The naked man went back into his position at his gun in the blister of the plane."
"What makes this photo especially amazing is the man featured here was a hero.  A hero photographed nude right after he'd completed his heroic act.  To the best of my knowledge, this is the only nude photo of a hero ever taken, much less one where he's still in action.  He's manning his gun in the picture, with water remaining beaded on his back and headphones over his wet hair, tense with alertness and concentration.  A nude man in what are clearly military surroundings."

"The title of this photograph as given in the article is PBY Blister Gunner - Rescue at Rabaul, and it was taken in 1944.  Therefore, the hero is at best an older man now, and could easily have passed away.  He may not have survived the war.  Did he notice the photo being taken?  Did he ever see it?  Did he know that the photo of him became famous?  Did it occur to him at any time that flinging himself naked out of a plane with bullets flying around, rescuing a man who would have surely died otherwise, and then racing back to his post still naked and wet, was something extraordinary, or did he shrug it off as doing his duty and never think twice about it?"
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