In winning his first Olympia title in 1992, Dorian Yates was already well ahead of the pack as far as size was concerned. However, nobody could have imagined the spectacular sight that greeted Kevin Horton when he met the massive Englishman in '93.
Bodybuilding photos, more so than any other type of imagery, show the human form at its most sublime, serving as inspiration for the many who pursue such extreme shape, size and definition.
And some of the most impressive bodybuilding photos to date have appeared in first class publications such as FLEX Magazine and Muscle and Fitness, both well served by expert photographer and once long-time contributor Kevin Horton.
Known for the impact his photos lend - many have become instant classics - and the action they convey - often capturing bodybuilding's elite in their natural training habitat, the hardcore gym - Horton is indirectly responsible for motivating masses of iron adherents to replicate the results ably demonstrated in his photos.
Simply put: without such photos, much of the inspiration all of us bodybuilders, pro and recreational alike, need to further progress in our chosen sport/activity would be sadly lacking.
A major objective for bodybuilders these days is the acquisition of extreme muscle mass, since this is what separates the average gym-goer from those with loftier goals, what distinguishes the hardcore bodybuilder from the typical beach body or gym rat.
And 1993, it could be argued, was the year in which bodybuilding's mass-building trend received its biggest kick-start. Why? Two words: Dorian Yates.
In winning his first Olympia title in 1992, Dorian Yates was already well ahead of the pack as far as size was concerned. However, nobody could have imagined the spectacular sight that greeted Kevin Horton, on assignment for FLEX Magazine, a few months later, when he met the massive Englishman during the preparation phase for his first title defense in 1993.
The result of this meeting was a series of classic black and white gym shots of a significantly more massive Dorian Yates that caused the bodybuilding world to stop in its tracks and question what it was doing wrong.
Two years after the publication of these monumental pictures, Dorian again posed for Horton's lens, this time displaying a physique harder and heavier than ever before. However, while these '95 pictures were arguably better overall, those '93 shots will be the ones forever associated with Yates' meteoric transformation.
"How could it be humanly possible to pack on so much mass in such a short period?" was the biggest question to emerge from Horton's landmark photo series (published in '93), of which produced images that re-defined the term freaky size, and arguably changed the pro bodybuilding community's self-imposed criteria for muscular development.
A new standard had been set and it was time for the rest of the pack to evolve or perish. They evolved and today the bar has been raised even higher by the likes of Jay Cutler and Dennis Wolf.
So how exactly did this, one of bodybuilding history's more memorable photo series', come to be? What was the response from the pro bodybuilding world at the time of its publication?
And what impact did they have for bodybuilding and bodybuilders in a general sense? These and many more questions were addressed during my recent conversation with the man responsible for their creation, Kevin Horton.
Kevin Horton Interview