Ed Lange's Nudist/Naturist publications

This magazine, Sundisk , evolved from Sundial, among Ed Lange's early nudist magazines. Nudist/naturist leader and publisher Ed lange, who the American Sunbathing Association (now the American Association for Nude Recreation) chose as the editor of their monthly magazine around the same time he was publishing the magazines (including the one above) that will be highlighted on this page. The red international "No" sign on the cover is mine because I reject this masturbatory portrayal of women, particularly disguised as "wholesome body acceptance" as it was, proudly, by Ed Lange. The yellow and red circle below it appears as was on the cover of the published magazine and reads "Sex and Social Intercourse". Lange was forced to cover the woman's vaginal area (on the cover of his magazines) due to what he called repressive laws which he objected to. Inside his magazine back cover he reproduced the full photo without the yellow and red circle. Situated in the lower left corner of the cover we see Ed Lange's "Elysium Inc., Publishers" logo displayed. (Elysium was the name of his nudist camp in California.) 
     Lange also published "Young and Naked" which is a magazine that focuses mostly on children and young women. Ed Lange was a greedy, dirty old man and the hero of many nudists and naturists, highly lauded by the movement today. Lange, Heilberg and Edmond Leja (the publisher and photographers who did Nudist Moppets) all worked together to publish nudist pornographic magazines during the 60s and early 70s.

Here's the back cover of Nudism Today, "The Official Journal of the American Sunbathing Association (now the AANR). Ed Lange is listed at the publisher and Editorial Director through "Sun West" and "Elysium Inc., Publishers". Again Lange's logo appears on the front of the magazine. The text within the vaginal cover states: "My Daughter the Teen Queen". The headline at the top left reads "Nudist Conventions Make Headlines". Inside the magazine nudist beauty pageants held at many of the nudist camps, including the ASA events ((which include children) are written about along with numerous photos of nude children, with many of the photos shot from below, in a photographic style typified by Leif Heilberg and Ed Lange.


Once, after I had been complaining to Lee Baxandall about his involvements with Ed Lange and Lange's magazines, Baxandall sat down at his computer and wrote this (see below) in Lange's defense of the pornography Lange produced.
     Readers can decide for themselves, but for me Baxandall asks too many questions, doesn't provide nearly enough answers, and he does far too much fence sitting. This is not even Lange's worst -- and there's no way we can know his worst because he shields his identity, and that of his photographers, when he published his child and adult pornography. This view of Lange as a pioneer/"sex radical"/nudist activist is why the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) gave him their Hall of Fame Award, but the Jenny Jones Show illustrates why his real place is in the Nudist/Naturist Hall of Shame and that Ed Lange was no "sex radical" but just another dirty old man hiding beind "innocent" naturism. -- Nikki Craft

Looking at Elysium's Back Numbers: SUNDISK #1 (1968)

by Lee Baxandall

SUNDISK. #1. 1968. Elysium Inc., Publishers. Sun West, Los Angeles, California. Editor, Dennis Colby. Executive Editor, Charles Cropsey. Publisher and Editorial Director, Ed Lange. Cec Cinder, Book Reviewer. Photographers: Leif HeiIberg (in first, non-alphabetic position), Ron Raffaelli (second), and a dozen more apparently true names.
     This Elysium premiere edition makes an unusual disclosure of those responsible, contrary to custom at Sun West/Elysium. Clearly the principals were confident and lacking in hypocrisy as they went about their editorial tasks.
     The introduction, "Dear Reader", notes that SUNDISK is to replace Sundial, an 8-year success of Elysium. SUNDISK is to be "an entirely different kind of magazine".
     Why? During the SUNDIAL years, 1960-68, and indeed "no doubt because of its influence on the public...nudism has gained a much deserved and long overdue general acceptance".
     Accordingly SUNDISK is not to do nudist propaganda. Its task is emblazoned on the cover of this "Collectors' First Edition": To represent "The Erotic Minorities"...."The Sexual Revolution Smiles".
     The cover emblemizes this redirection. A thin white woman with straight blonde hair and sunglasses, looking stoned by the drink she holds, is seated on a barstool so that her cunt is thrust to the camera with her legs spread, one leg down the other high. She smiles enticingly.
     What does she symbolize? No need to guess, for a yellow circle covers her cunt (it is the cover, after all), to announce: "Sex and Social Intercourse". Inside, you'll see this same photo without the cover-up. And on the back cover another woman's forthright cunt is covered with a yellow circle titled: "Getting The Feel", for her foot is testing the waters, you see.
     What was Elysium doing here, in the revolutionary year 1968? What is this post-nudism in Ed Lange's publishing rangefinder? Is it as claimed, the Sexual Revolution? Or is it only ink on paper, and the same tired sex bias and exploitation? We need to examine this SUNDISK carefully, for it marks a symptomatic moment in our history.
     Page three: The same nude woman is shot from a shoe's length below her cunt, looking up her body as she lies on a couch, her eyes closed in feigned ecstasy, hands playing around her mons venus. Is this SUNDISK a woman-worshipper?
     Hardly. Page five: A Japanese nude woman is shown wrestling a Caucasian female into sexually provocative poses. Caption: "The Weaker But Wilier Sex". Is this woman-hating? In the next pages, she is shown several times throwing a naked man. He lunges at her at last with a knife; she blocks his blow, grabs and rips his balls.
     In this vein of fascination with the "wily" female, lenses probe into cunts from cover to cover.
     Textually the focus is sexual liberation. Sexual, not nudist authorities, are the sources. A Swedish doctor attacks the hegemony of missionary position and monogamous heterosexuality, cheered on by Cec Cinder. In favor of polygamous "varietism" is the Sexual Freedom League of Berkeley [founded by Jeff Poland.]
     The textual thrust is summed up by Elysium Director Ed Lange in an afterword, "The Conspiracy of Silence":
     "Though emerging into a new era we attempt to drag substantial remainders of our puritan tradition with us"; the taboos range from body ignorance to sexual ignorance. But, "At most large colleges, opportunities for uninhibited sexual self-instruction abound....Interpretation and understanding of the relevant issues are offered as never before. All of literature is available for reference.
     "In this situation, efforts to invoke repressive dogma and return to Victorian standards of sexual behavior are unrealistic. Most religious and secular monitors, aghast at the prospect, are both unwilling and unable to cope with it."
     The modern authorities standing aghast apparently leave the role of mentor to such outlaw authority as publishers of magazines on sexual liberation. Lange concludes: "The water is over the dam. If the rapids below are turbulent and dangerous, they are also beautiful and exciting. And they lead to the sea. If some perish through lack of caution and skill, others will mark channels for the rest to follow safely and joyfully. They have passed the point of being led back to childhood."
     This remarkable passage is troublesome as it is prophetic. Does the writer expect he is one who will perish in the sexual rapids? Hardly. Is he a "channel marker" for others? He certainly thinks he is.
     Who will perish? The question nags, since it is females who get knocked up by male adventurers, and who are most penalized by society for pioneering or deviant roles. And naive nudist models, mostly females, are who later and futilely recriminate photographers for leading them into fetishizing poses for which they have no way to take responsibility, but in which, by a 'wily' lensman's quick snap, they are frozen for eternity.
     In the history of American nudist publishing, it is important to note that Ed Lange took conscious responsibility in this magazine for stepping out beyond the guileful pack of pseudo-nudo publishers. 
     Lange here openly avows the connection of body acceptance with sex education and adventure.
     It may be argued whether this connection exists or it should have been made at this time. But this is assuredly what Elysium/Sun West was up to in 1968.
     SUNDISK should not be seen as just another of the 130 magazines at that time veiled primly in llsley Boone's 1958 Supreme Court victory for nudist pictures. Lange outspokenly cast off the chrysalis of SUNDIAL and emerged in a new light.
     Whatever became of the sexual revolution since, or of nudism, the distinction of SUNDISK from its fellows must be made. Then it may be examined if SUNDISK functioned as it boldly claimed to be.
     Was its role basically sexual liberation or sexual exploitation? Was it for all people, or for men to look up the cunts of women in fear and longing? And what is the meaning of its acceptance of ads like: "44-24-36, 16 Years Old, 12 Full Size Photos, Only $1"? And "Teenage Nudist, Giant Book, from Sun West"?
     Is this liberation? There's the real discussion.

- Lee Baxandall