The presentation of the name and/or photograph of any of these classic models is not to be construed as any indication of the sexual orientation of that model.
While this blog is compiled by a gay man, and 99% of the audience is sure to be composed of gay men, the vast majority of vintage models were actually heterosexual. Shocking, but true! The Golden Era of the 40s and 50s was when bodybuilding took off in a big way, and getting a photograph taken in a studio setting was an important way for many of these men to exhibit their hard work. The leading studios often got their work printed in the "legitimate" bodybuilding press -- they certainly advertised their work in the back pages.
Did the models who posed nude realize what the audience for these pictures ultimately was? I think we must assume they did. No matter what the impetus for beginning training, once a bodybuilder hit a particular point (and that point would be different for each and every one), a certain amount of narcissism and exhibitionism is hard to avoid. Posing for photographs, no matter what the audience, must have been a great way to indulge those impulses. For those who posed nude, the rush must have been even greater!
All praise to these men, straight or gay, who stepped in front of the camera to record their accomplishments!
I became fascinated with the world of musclemen and posing straps when I discovered Valentine Hooven's book "Beefcake" in the early 90's. The (mostly) straight men posing before the camera, exhibiting their finely-tuned bodies to the gay cameraman, were an instant turn-on for me. The history of these men and the photographers who immortalized them (albeit in someone's secret stash under the bed for 50 years) has pre-occupied me for the past 15-or-so years. I look forward to sharing some of my finds with you!