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When Texas native George Tate arrived in Los Angeles for the first time in the early 1950s as a student at the Art Center School of Photography, he felt he’d found a place where he truly belonged. As he described it, Southern California seemed like a modern-day Babylon.
“I think what he found here was like-minded people,” said the late photographer’s son,Greg Tate. “Texas was literally a cow town in the ’50s. He landed in L.A. and he said, ‘Now I feel at home.’ ”
After his education, George Tate worked as a freelance photojournalist, pursuing the stories and subjects that captured his interest. According to his son, Tate was drawn to things that were at once foreign and attractive to him: the beach, the sun, and the health-and-fitness scene that was just starting to catch fire in Southern California.
He spent a lot of time at Muscle Beach at the base of the Santa Monica Pier, where men and women were practicing adagio, a type of acrobatic performance requiring strength, balance, and coordination.