I wanted to do this for some time but it’s slow to settle on the right images. A few I knew of before I even went to look for them, but the others were the product of debate over one or the other. I was trying to order these in preference but it’s very hard so this is just a rough layout I suppose.
This guy gave posing a new meaning. He had a very unique style (although very similar in places to The Myth) and spent many years refining his routine to get this across from start to finish. He defined the Olympian expression of the sport and his silhouette alone would be recognized and some might say that this is the ultimate symbol of success in your bodybuilding shape.
This guy was photographed so many times over his 72 year life. Right up until he was 65 years old he looked in outstanding competition shape. This picture really shows the golden years for what they were. The lack of a GH bloat in the stomach, cinched waist and massive shoulder size was what inspired so many that would become future champions, inspired by images like the one above. Serge would have been around 42 years old in that photograph, perhaps older. Certainly makes you think about how much age is really a factor? Doesn’t seem like it.
This has to be one of the most shocking images I had ever seen before I knew anything about the photography behind the sport. There is a copy of this hanging up in a gym I visited (actually of the front double bicep from the same shoot…) and I had never seen a human look like this. I couldn’t believe that legs and arms could grow to such mutant sizes, and to still be fully functioning, hard earned muscle. I was a mixture of shocked,revolted and impressed all at the same time. Which is probably what kept my interest in sport, even if I was never going to participate in it.
Lee Priest will always be a standout competitor for me. From a very young age he was a freak and certainly one to watch. His structure was already becoming pronounced at ages as young as 12 and 14. He has certainly gone on to become one of the modern legends of the sport, both for his outstanding mass monster form, and his eccentric personality(face tattoos and such…) But this picture is just an epic moment. In some ways it captures what most of the world thinks about bodybuilding. You see something that you can’t believe is true and but you know it is. The rippled formation of that tricep head(or whatever it is??) is part of the mystery that makes “The Blonde Myth” who he is. And it’s fair to say that the other blonde guy(name?) represents everyone else who would have seen that flex, if you love it or hate it you simply can’t ignore it!
Not the biggest image, and maybe not the most popular, but the first time I saw this I knew it was something different to the rest. Arnie was always pandering to his audience and smiling for the camera. Never afraid to throw a pose and he knows how to work a crowd. I don’t know the story behind this photo and I’ve never gone to look. But there is something unsettling in that face that makes this image a classic expression of aggression in this sport. Massive,thick vascularity and the subject isolation of the lens that was used really make him look the viewer in the eye.