The next three images do form something of a sequence. The 'hidden eroticism' requires little in the way of explanation from me.
'Touching your toes' was (is?) the most basic of gym exercises, a measure of flexibility and lean-ness. In the 50's it was also, for fairly obvious reasons, a standard way for racier comedians to mock homosexual practices. Here, Royale/Hussar Studio reclaims the innuendo for gays to enjoy. The overly intimate angle would be distasteful to straight audiences but the humourous heads looking back through the legs probably made it acceptable.
It's worth remembering that the originals of these pictures would have been a top quality photographs and this group gives a glimpse of just how wonderful they must have seemed to their lucky recipients in a world where any sort of explicit imagery (straight included) was ruthlessly suppressed.
This excellent 'through the legs' shot is a classic Royale Studio pose (so good they used it twice in the Soldier-Sailor series!) It shows off the curves of the foreground legs especially well. Getting the model to stand on his toes is a stroke of genius, it flexes his calves a little bit more, but also creates a marvellous sense of youthfulness and suppressed energy as he prepares to rush forward.
The vaulting horse reprises it's role of leg spreader seen previously in picture 2, it conveniently raises the waiting student onto his toes as well, producing an pose of extreme passivity. I need hardly point out what the focal point of this composition is, if in any doubt check out the eye-lines!
The details of these ageing pictures tease us, for example the shadowing between the buttocks of the bent over model is oddly suggestive of what lies inside his shorts. Is this an accident or a deliberate 'enhancement'? By the studio or someone else? There's a similar intriguing effect in picture 5 and a strangely effective highlight between the thighs. I've noted this in previous articles too.
Then again, it might just be my fertile imagination.
Here we have 'The Jump', another nice little erotic joke. It's a terrific image for bottom lovers. The positioning of the lower model, on his toes with shoulders braced and showing long, long legs would make an excellent image in it's own right, with nuances of CP.
I'm not au fait with the capabilities of cameras in the 60's, but this looks as if it was shot as a balanced, static pose. I'm going by the lack of blurring, the positioning of the hands and the close proximity of the wall in front! It must have been tricky to get right in the time available before muscles gave out, so we can forgive the untidy disembodied hand and the cropped top edge. The result is still tremendously dynamic and exciting with an exaggerated erotic suggestiveness that's highly entertaining.
These tight, little, white shorts were less startling at that time than you might imagine, they were fashionable beach wear and often found in female glamour shots. With men, it's the frontal view of course which causes most of the problems, not the rear.
to be continued