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History and Influence
Bellas was born in Alliance, Nebraska and was a chemistry teacher there until 1947, when he began photographing bodybuilders in Los Angeles, California. In 1956, Bellas launched his own magazine, The Male Figure.
An extensive archive of Bellas' nude male physique photographs exists today, largely intact. His impact on physique photography is largely felt and recognized, and the works of Robert Mapplethorpe, Herb Ritts, and Bruce Weber are widely considered to be influenced by Bellas' pioneering style. In 1990, the Wessel O'Connor Gallery in New York and the Jan Kesner Gallery in Los Angeles both exhibited a wide array of Bellas' work, furthering modern recognition of his impact.
Bellas died while on vacation in Canada in 1974.
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