|Royale Studio - Sailor in Shorts in The Rigging 03|
(For an explanation of the image sizing and blurring, please see my footnote below).
This Royale Studio, 'Sailor in the Rigging' group is an example where the model is not tied to the ropes to simulate a full blown flogging, but simply poses with the rigging net, having first dressed in the flimsy, tight, Royale, gym shorts and belt as their flogging ritual demanded. Not a wow physique, some Royale models were beefcake body-builders but many were ordinary guys. His footwear is quite interesting, not Royal Navy standard I think. Other models in this series are bare footed. Perhaps this one jibbed at climbing the ropes in bare feet.
|Royale Studio - Sailor in Shorts in The Rigging 04|
Standing at attention before the rigging, he has all the appearance of a condemned serviceman preparing to meet his fate. His curled fingers certainly suggest some tension (and would attract a rebuke and maybe more from a superior - they should be straight). This detail and his longish hair makes me wonder whether he really was a serving member of the armed forces at the time of the shoot.
Seen from behind in this picture, the outfit seems better balanced and more sexy, although the RN cap looks slightly incongruous. Despite the blurring we get a reasonable impression of a shapely back and bottom
|Royale Studio - Sailor in Shorts in The Rigging 07|
This is a better view. He has climbed onto the ropes and is standing with feet apart and shoulders opened which gives a better impression of his physique. We have jumped to picture No7 here, the intermediate shots probably showed him stepping up. The half-turn position with hips twisted was a favourite Royale Studio device for accentuating body shape in a teasing way.
|Royale Studio - Sailor in Shorts in The Rigging 08|
|Royale Studio - Sailor in Shorts in The Rigging 11|
In the frontal position the sailor looks up at his wrists almost as though they are tied, perhaps he wishes they were! The old half turn trick and clever lighting brings out an impression of excitement within those groaning shorts. They seem to have a short fly and button close like the old style rugby shorts, I'd have liked to have seen a better view - button open even - and with the belt removed.
|Royale Studio - Sailor in Shorts in The Rigging 12|
The sailor gazes down at his incriminating bulge. Even if it's mostly padding, it must have felt sexy, particularly with an audience watching closely and possibly the photographer's fingers making adjustments down below. We don't know if this is the last picture in the set, I do have an example of a 12 image thumbnail sheet. We can speculate about what might have followed but the phantom snipper must have had the full set and it's reasonable to suppose that those which have survived were probably the best of the bunch.
To be continued (link pending but see below for other articles)
Read all the new series of Royale Studio articles at mitchmen from the start:
Royale Open Archive link below
A Note from the mitchmen Curator
All but one of this vintage, military 'Sailor in the Rigging' set are 'thumbnails' from a Royale Studio catalogue sheet. Those I found seemed to have been literally cut out from the paper with scissors - but not very carefully. As a result none of these images were square and they had all sorts of odd borders with splinters or strips of the white surround included on some of the sides but not all. Visually the effect was quite confusing and scruffy so I have mounted them all on a plain white surround which makes it easier to look at them. I haven't changed them in any other way, no cropping, no straightening. If you look carefully you can see the original boundaries.
These thumbnails are also quite small, so to aid appreciation, I have blown some of them up here using the blogger re-sizing function, it produces blurry results, but better than my primitive, photo manipulation skills. The others are all in original size. You can view them all in the original sizing by clicking on the image or retrieving them from the archive.
I have added these images to the existing Royale 01 'Sailor in the Rigging' folder of the mitchmen Royale Studio Open Archive and if you follow the link you will find there's a new zip file which includes them. My apologies to those who downloaded the incomplete previous version.
The Royale Studio Open Archive at mitchmen blog