Thursday, December 10, 2009

"Portraits, male nudes, & flowers…"

I figured that I should post something other than music for once (or twice now), so this post will be about… [insert drum roll]… Robert Mapplethorpe [yay!]! Mapplethorpe’s prominently illicit black and white photography gained popularity in the eighties. He grew up in New York City & mostly did portraits, self-portraits, both male & females nudes, & pictures of flowers. His portraits were mostly of famous people (mainly based around New York), such Andy Warhol:
and he even took the photograph for Patti Smith’s album, Horses:

Robert & Patti’s relationship began when they were nineteen, both growing up in New York City. Here’s a short video of the two talk about each other—pretty interesting stuff:

Robert Mapplethorpe took the D.I.Y. aspects of punk rock found in Patti Mapplethorpe’s music & applied them to photography. As he said in the film above, he pretty much just picked up a camera & went with it. He did many self-portraits, I would guess as an experiment of some sort, so he didn’t have to experiment on others. Here are some of those self-portraits:

There was much controversy based around the homosexual aspects in his photographs, especially found in his male nudes. One such controversy was having one of his books temporarily banned from the University of Central England. Authorities later returned the book however. Here are some of his (less risqué) male nudes:

Here are some of his flower photographs:

Mapplethorpe, however, died in March of 1989 from complications from the AIDS virus. Shortly before his death he founded the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc. which has both protected & promoted his work & raised millions of dollars for research in the fight against AIDS & HIV infections. The website for this foundation can be found here.

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