On his 1974 tour, Arnold was brought over to watch a training session for the Eastern Suburbs Roosters Rugby League team in the football grounds at Moore Park, Sydney. This is a team that included the late great Arthur Beetson. He was coaxed into taking a photo with some of the players. As it was a cold night, Ron Coote offered to loan Arnold his Shoes as there was frost on the grass.
I was there with my camera on the day Arnold hit his ultra – peak! I believe there is a single day in the curve of a bodybuilder’s career when he is in his greatest shape. For Arnold Schwarzenegger it was September 1973; several weeks before the Mr. Olympia contest.
The setting was the beautiful Santa Monica mountains. With me was that dynamic bodybuilding duo, Arnold and Franco. It was the perfect day for pictures! I had just purchased my dream camera, the Hasselblad – the one famous for taking those great photos of the Earth from the Moon. And the time was right. California summers are at their height in September. That’s when the days are the warmest and clearest of the year. This was just such a day. In 1973, the mountains were mostly uninhabited, with few dwellings and not a soul in sight. An occasional bird flew by. The peace and quiet was wonderful. Arnold, Franco and I found our location and settled down.
It was in 1963 that a young Robert Nailon entered his first bodybuilding competition, Mr. Australia (Junior). This was the culmination of his father’s inspiration and his personal displeasure at being a “skinny little kid.” Robert quickly excelled at the sport and was considered one of Australia’s best-known bodybuilders. But bodybuilding wasn’t Robert’s only passion. His interest in photography was equally strong. For the benefit of body- building fans, he combined his two passions and his photos were soon being seen in magazines worldwide.
During his 12 years of competition, Robert both trained with and photographed many of the greats of the bodybuilding world, such as Frank Zane, Larry Scott, Dave Draper, Reg Park and, of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Thus, he has benefited from the wisdom of the best of the best from around the world.
MUSCLE INSIDER sits down with Robert to discuss his career and how he came to be friend and photographer to the greatest bodybuilder of all time.