The Boy: A Photographic Essay

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The Boy: A Photographic Essay (1964) is a book of photographs of boys edited by Georges St. Martin and Ronald C. Nelson and published by Book Horizons, Inc. in New York.


The book features over 400 photographs: candid pictures, portraits and some nudes typical of naturist magazines of the era. The editors used contemporary as well as lots of stock photography which, somewhat, reveals hasty production as some pictures "appear to have been included on the basis of what was available to the editors". (1)

The photographers that contributed to the collection were American and European and included Hajo Ortil, Karel Egermeier, Ermete Marzoni, Jos Le Doare, and others. The book also featured a series of pictures (a few of which were nudes) taken on location during the shooting of the film Lord of the Flies (1963).


The book proved to be very successful. It received many good reviews in the homophile press and was reprinted at least twice (1966, 1967). Moreover, the editors issued a follow-up collection titled Boys Will Be Boys (1966). Both books are currently out of print.

Nevertheless, whereas the book was well received back in the 1960s, the change in the attitudes toward depictions of naked boys coupled with the prevailing hysteria over child sexual abuse, led some people to believe that the book is pornographic.

Quite recently, the prosecution in Michael Jackson's trial unsuccessfully tried to present The Boy (a copy of which was seized from Jackson's home in 1993 and never returned) as being child erotica or pornography. [1]


(1)(Walter Breen), "Review of The Boy: A Photographic Essay," International Journal of Greek Love 1, no. 2 (1966): 61.

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