This is the fourth in a series of excerpts from the biographical introduction to Brooklyn Boys, the new monograph on Danny Fitzgerald and Les Demi Dieux.
In the early 1960s, Danny Fitzgerald and Richard Bennett also began promoting Fitzgerald’s photography under the studio name “Les Demi Dieux.” Working under an assumed name was not uncommon in the 1940s and ’50s when photographers were persecuted for their work. Bob Mizer had the Athletic Model Guild. Don Whitman, the Western Photography Guild. Bruce Bellas called himself “Bruce of Los Angeles,” and Douglas Juleff, “Douglas of Detroit.”
So, throughout the early ’60s, male nudes by Les Demi Dieux appeared regularly on the covers and pages of slickly designed Joe Weider publications like The Young Physique, Muscles a Go-Go, Demi Gods, and Era (the publisher’s compilation volume celebrating the best photographers of the 1960s). Les Demi Dieux photographs featured popular models like Bennett, Albanese, and Orest, and lent Weider’s publications a visual impact and artistic quality that surpassed the average male physique magazines of the period.
This is the third in a series of excerpts from the biographical introduction to Brooklyn Boys, the new monograph on Danny Fitzgerald and Les Demi Dieux.
With the start of the 1960s, Fitzgerald met Richard Bennett, the man who would become his collaborator and life partner until Fitzgerald’s death in 2000. A chiseled, masculine beauty with the natural ability of a classic artistic poser, Bennett came to New York City from working-class Scranton, Pennsylvania, looking for acting and modeling gigs. He apparently pursued Fitzgerald himself, submitting his resume to Fitzgerald through an enthusiast in the Bronx who was familiar with the photographer’s aesthetic.