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Baron von Gloeden (1856-1931) was the first photographer to devote his life to the photography of the male nude, making numerous studies of young boys in Sicily from the time he came to live in a villa in Taormina in 1876. Most of his work was produced between 1895 and 1910, and after his death in 1931, large numbers of prints and negatives were destroyed by the fascist authorities. Von Gloeden's work was written about and used to illustrate essays on the male nude in serious artistic magazines such as the monthly 'Photogram' in the 1890s. As Gleeson White noted in one of his features there, a major problem with male nudes is the tendency for the subjects to fall into obvious and set poses. Little has changed in the intervening more than a hundred years. Von Gloeden's strength and the charm of his work is that he usually managed to avoid these stilted pictures, perhaps as a result of his habit of dressing only in a leopard's skin and playing games with the young boys until they had abandoned their inhibitions about being in the nude. Von Gloeden had to leave Taormina for the duration of the First World War and when he returned, the world had changed. His work seemed dated and there was little demand for it.