Gay Adult Photography Pioneer David Hurles Passes Away

LOS ANGELES — Pioneering gay adult photographer and director David Hurles passed away on Thursday in Los Angeles at 78, according to friends.

Hurles died in a nursing home, reportedly from complications from a 2008 stroke. The news was reported through the Bob Mizer Foundation by curator and editor Dian Hanson, who is the manager of Hurles’ state.

Hurles, according to gay news outlet the Bay Area Reporter’s obituary, “acted as the sole employee of Old Reliable, a pornographic media company that he founded in the 1970s in San Francisco. He had lived in the city for a time, beginning in the late 1960s, and called the Tenderloin home.”

Hurles began shooting male models in 1968 and was part of a group of pioneering photographers and publications which included Bob Mizer’s physique photography for Athletic Model Guild; Jack Fritscher, editor-in-chief of Drummer magazine; and Chuck Holmes, founder of Falcon Studios. These innovators, wrote JC Adams for XBIZ, “seized upon the hunger for such specialty content, delivering a sought-after supply to meet the demand of an eager audience.”

Old Reliable’s catalog grew to include 300 feature videos documenting the culture of street hustlers while living in SOMA and Los Angeles,“ Fritscher wrote about his colleague and friend. „When the scary models in his silent photos began to talk in his wild solo videos in 1981, he spread his income hiring more than 500 often unhoused drifters, ex-cons, and rentboys in his preferred casting order of straight, bi, and gay because in his Reality TV esthetic, they were authentic and could talk dominantly directly into the camera.“

Den Bell, founder, president and CEO of the Mizer foundation told the Bay Area Reporter that “David’s work for Old Reliable exposed gay audiences to a subculture in which we found excitement and thrills, an encounter with the type of man we have always been told to avoid. His pioneering work in the field has revolutionized the art of desire.“

In 2009, following Hurles’ stroke, a group of friends and fans launched an online fundraising campaign to raise money to cover medical bills and other expenses for the artist and filmmaker. An Old Reliable blog and online store were operated for free by volunteers, with all funds raised going to Hurles.

„When I started collecting photos for ‘The Big Penis Book’ I knew I had to have Old Reliable in there,“ Taschen editor Dian Hanson said at the time. “It wasn’t easy to get a contact for David and when we finally met I was shocked to find this intelligent, funny, mild-mannered guy who studied his models the way I’d studied my readers all the years I worked making men’s magazines. David is a true intellectual, a psychological hobbyist and even more interesting as a person than he is as a photographer.“

Hanson notes the stroke left Hurles with his „wit, intelligence and memory intact. His body is not so lucky.“

Collections of Hurles’ work included the photobooks “Outcast” and  „Speeding” and the video compilation „The Best of Old Reliable, Vol. One.“ – Gay

2023-04-14 22:28:29

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