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Robert Mapplethorpe
Self Portrait, 1980 © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission.
Robert Mapplethorpe
Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Mapplethorpe

Country: United States
Birth: 1946 | Death: 1989

Robert Mapplethorpe was born in 1946 in Floral Park, Queens. Of his childhood he said, "I come from suburban America. It was a very safe environment and it was a good place to come from in that it was a good place to leave."

In 1963, Mapplethorpe enrolled at Pratt Institute in nearby Brooklyn, where he studied drawing, painting, and sculpture. Influenced by artists such as Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp, he also experimented with various materials in mixed-media collages, including images cut from books and magazines. He acquired a Polaroid camera in 1970 and began producing his own photographs to incorporate into the collages, saying he felt "it was more honest." That same year he and Patti Smith, whom he had met three years earlier, moved into the Chelsea Hotel.

Mapplethorpe quickly found satisfaction taking Polaroid photographs in their own right and indeed few Polaroids actually appear in his mixed-media works. In 1973, the Light Gallery in New York City mounted his first solo gallery exhibition, "Polaroids." Two years later he acquired a Hasselblad medium-format camera and began shooting his circle of friends and acquaintances—artists, musicians, socialites, pornographic film stars, and members of the S & M underground. He also worked on commercial projects, creating album cover art for Patti Smith and Television and a series of portraits and party pictures for Interview Magazine.

In the late 70s, Mapplethorpe grew increasingly interested in documenting the New York S & M scene. The resulting photographs are shocking for their content and remarkable for their technical and formal mastery. Mapplethorpe told ARTnews in late 1988, "I don't like that particular word 'shocking.' I'm looking for the unexpected. I'm looking for things I've never seen before … I was in a position to take those pictures. I felt an obligation to do them." Meanwhile his career continued to flourish. In 1977, he participated in Documenta 6 in Kassel, West Germany and in 1978, the Robert Miller Gallery in New York City became his exclusive dealer.

Mapplethorpe met Lisa Lyon, the first World Women's Bodybuilding Champion, in 1980. Over the next several years they collaborated on a series of portraits and figure studies, a film, and the book, Lady, Lisa Lyon. Throughout the 80s, Mapplethorpe produced a bevy of images that simultaneously challenge and adhere to classical aesthetic standards: stylized compositions of male and female nudes, delicate flower still lifes, and studio portraits of artists and celebrities, to name a few of his preferred genres. He introduced and refined different techniques and formats, including color 20" x 24" Polaroids, photogravures, platinum prints on paper and linen, Cibachrome and dye transfer color prints. In 1986, he designed sets for Lucinda Childs' dance performance, Portraits in Reflection, created a photogravure series for Arthur Rimbaud's A Season in Hell, and was commissioned by curator Richard Marshall to take portraits of New York artists for the series and book, 50 New York Artists.

That same year, in 1986, he was diagnosed with AIDS. Despite his illness, he accelerated his creative efforts, broadened the scope of his photographic inquiry, and accepted increasingly challenging commissions. The Whitney Museum of American Art mounted his first major American museum retrospective in 1988, one year before his death in 1989.

His vast, provocative, and powerful body of work has established him as one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. Today Mapplethorpe is represented by galleries in North and South America and Europe and his work can be found in the collections of major museums around the world. Beyond the art historical and social significance of his work, his legacy lives on through the work of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. He established the Foundation in 1988 to promote photography, support museums that exhibit photographic art, and to fund medical research in the fight against AIDS and HIV-related infection.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Bruce Davidson
United States
1933
Bruce Davidson began taking photographs at the age of ten in Oak Park, Illinois. While attending Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale University, he continued to further his knowledge and develop his passion. He was later drafted into the army and stationed near Paris. There he met Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the founders of the renowned cooperative photography agency, Magnum Photos. When he left military service in 1957, Davidson worked as a freelance photographer for LIFE magazine and in 1958 became a full member of Magnum. From 1958 to 1961 he created such seminal bodies of work as “The Dwarf,” Brooklyn Gang,” and “Freedom Rides.” He received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1962 and created a profound documentation of the civil rights movement in America. In 1963, the Museum of Modern Art in New York presented his early work in a solo show. In 1967, he received the first grant for photography from the National Endowment for the Arts, having spent two years witnessing the dire social conditions on one block in East Harlem. This work was published by Harvard University Press in 1970 under the title East 100th Street and was later republished and expanded by St. Ann’s Press. The work became an exhibition that same year at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1980, he captured the vitality of the New York Metro’s underworld that was later published in a book, Subway, and exhibited at the International Center for Photography in 1982. From 1991-95 he photographed the landscape and layers of life in Central Park. In 2006, he completed a series of photographs titled “The Nature of Paris,” many of which have been shown and acquired by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Davidson received an Open Society Institute Individual Fellowship in 1998 to return to East 100th Street His awards include the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Photography in 2004 and a Gold Medal Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Arts Club in 2007. Classic bodies of work from his 50-year career have been extensively published in monographs and are included in many major public and private fine art collections around the world. He continues to photograph and produce new bodies of work.Source: Magnum Photos
Anuar Patjane
Mexico
1981
Social anthropologist, photographer and scuba diver born in Puebla, Mexico in 1981. World press photo second place Winner in 2016, Nature category National Geographic Traveler photo contest ist place winner 2015 Statement: We can not be just photographers, accountants, politicians or students anymore, our planet is reaching the point of no return and action from everyone is needed. I believe it is necessary to do what we can to revert our aggressive behavior and carelessness towards our own planet, lets use all in our reach to change our behavior once and for all. Underwater Realm Project Conservation and protection of the oceans has become an urgent issue, and few governments and NGOs are doing something about it. With the underwater series, I try to drive our attention towards the beauty of our oceans and a truth usually unnoticed: We are brutally overfishing in our oceans, and our attention should be concentrated on the way we fish as well as what we eat from the ocean. We see and care when a forest is gone because it is visible to everybody, but we don't see when we destroy life underwater, we don't see how nets from the tuna, the shrimp industry and the whaling vessels cause damage and death to the sea. We are not familiar with this environment because we don´t see what we destroy, and this needs to change very quickly so we can reverse this course. By sharing the beauty of our oceans we might start to care more and build or strengthen the connection between us and the sea. About the winning photograph of All About Photo Awards 2018: "TORNADO" A school of Bigeye Trevally forming a "tornado" at Cabo Pulmo National Park, Mexico. I took this photograph during one of my three exploration trips to Cabo Pulmo in 2015, the diver in front of the tornado school is park ranger Leonardo who accompanied me during that week of exploration. New research shows that schools of fish are self organized aggregations that learn and remember as a group and not as individuals. This new information needs to be taken into account by fishing regulations so fishing techniques could be modified in order to preserve the health of the whole fish population and never fish the whole community. A few years ago and after almost completely depleting the local reef of Cabo Pulmo, the local fishermen decided to stop fishing and bet all on ecotourism. After a few years that bet became anl economic social and ecological success; what used to be an almost lifeless place now has a complete life chain and one of the highest concentrations of biomass in Mexican seas, even bull sharks and tiger sharks are back and orcas and humpbacks come near the coat of Pulmo and visit often. Cabo Pulmo is a true example that by letting the ocean recover, it will do so by itself.
Szymon Brodziak
What you see, is who you are - says Szymon Brodziak, the master of black and white photography. The youngest aritist exhibited at the Museum of Photography - Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin (2015). The best black & white campaign photographer of the world, acclaimed by the jury of FashionTV Photographers Awards, during 2013 Cannes Film Festival. In 2019, Brodziak confrmed his mastery by winning 1st Place in World's Top 10 Black & White Photographers contest curated by OneEyeland. He loves to photograph women. He's inspired mainly by locations, where he brings to life his monochromatic visions. Brodziak received Johnnie Walker Keep Walking Award for constant fulflment of dreams and passion for setting new paths in the search of beauty. In Europe, Brodziak received numerous medals and honourable mentions in various editions of the renowed Prix de la Photographie Paris, both for commercial and personal projects, including the title of Advertising Photographer of the Year (2016). In the USA, he won frst place in Fashion category in two photo competitions: International Photography Awards (2016) and Black and White Spider Awards (2016), which rewards the best monochromatic images from all over the word. His frst photo album ONE had its ofcial premiere in Rome (2014). It presents the frst 10 years of his professional activity. The publication starts with a personal dedication from June Newton, wife to the legendary photographer Helmut Newton. Szymon's new photographic book entitled WHAT YOU SEE IS WHO YOU ARE won a Gold Medal (Book: Cover) and 2 Bronze Medals (Book: Fine Art & Other) at Prix de la Photographie Paris 2019 and also Honorable Mention at 2019 International Photography Awards (USA). The artist's work can be seen and ordered in his own galleries of photography located in Poland and are also available worldwide at Online Shop www.szymonbrodziak.com as well as www.saatchiart.com/brodziak.
Alicia Moneva
The common thread in all my work is the footprint of the human, with humanized objects and spaces made by man, architectural painting and photography, trying to explain social and psychological concepts through the figure.Coming from the world of painting my type of photography is built. Based on a generic idea, will be taking individual photos that will form part of the final work. Each shot in digital format, will later join with the help of photoshop. This tool is almost exclusively used for the matrix composition. All these pictures are real, the waters of colors are stained for each session, lights, ropes, etc. are used maybe that way I put me more in the concept that I want to express.My work models are people I know, in my environment, there is a complicity and prior understanding, they bring to the session his way of expressing the idea, much enriched the work. Also, say the interest that raised me shadows, which is evidenced in my way of photographing. Penumbra, in my opinion, they dimension the vacuum of space, they materialize it, make it real. My work is the antithesis of the photography, which I would call operating room, without just shadows.Overhead view of my work, is strongly influenced by the years that I was in contact with the architects. At the end of my studies of biological sciences I worked continuously with them. My task there was the explanation of the urban projects through roof planes. With a pictorial abstraction were given a human scale. I was very lucky, I found interesting people that opened a world of possibilities, which taught me to see after looking at. At the same time, painting was transformed into something serious in my life, I started to exhibit and to devote myself more professionally to art.Photography was in principle a work tool, a tool more for my collection of data, it helped me to paint everything you had no way of doing so natural. Little by little I found comfortable with the photographic image and the human figure to express the ideas that were emerging. I went through a very unproductive at work time, since I opposed the painting to photography, when they were actually for me very complementary. At this time that seemed to lost went back to College, first studying psychology and later philosophy. None of the two races ended them, as it was not so important to have an academic degree, but if you continue learning, similar of being alive. My exhibitions were photography, although in principle and respect for the world of photography, I thought that I was an intruder, had the desire and the security to do so, also the need.Self-portrait I submit for publication to reflect a state of confusion we all, from time to time we have suffered, when a mesh does not let you see clearly the reality. As if it were a necessary self-deception on occasions.Alicia Moneva Madrid, October 2013All about Alicia Moneva:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?It was progressive. I needed to work with the human figure and I felt more comfortable with photography.AAP: Where did you study photography?I didn't study painting or photography. My teachers were architects who knew the method and had perception.AAP: How long have you been a photographer?I have been taking photographs for 20 years but, professionally, just 10.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?They were objects that I wanted to paint in my Studio and I couldn't move them from the place they were. And also black and white portraits, many portraits.AAP: What or who inspires you?I am inspired by philosophy, anthropology, biology... and now also particle physics. Science and arts basically.AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series?My favorite series are the last I have been working on: "the disease in our culture", which is about chronically ill people, the unknown heroes of our time. It is a tribute to them, their carers and families. AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?When I started I used an old Pentax, with black and white rolls for portraits and color rolls for objects I painted later. Now I work with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon 7D. The lenses are also Canon.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?My pictures are made of many individual photographs. I use photo editing programs to assemble and compose the final image. For me it is important to convey the idea I have in mind and I edit the photos until I think the concept is understood.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?I really like Spanish creativity. My favorite are perhaps Chema Madoz for his pulchritudinous images which I would summarize in "less is more". And Cristina García Rodero because she transmits me all the strength of human feelings.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?To be passionate about what he is doing, to follow his instincts. And, especially, to be honest with what he thinks, beacuse that will be his way of looking at what the others see.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Wanting to be very original? Or thinking you already know everything?AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?I would mention a fragment of one of José Hierro's poems that summarizes well how sometimes a moment can be turned into something timeless. "...But there are things that do not die and others who never lived. And there are some that fill the universe, And it is not possible to get rid of its memory". (José Hierro / "Alegría" 1947).AAP: What are your projects?I have been working lately on a new project with another Spanish photographer, Judith Sansó. It is shared project with a performance which combines photography and video art. The first of these series is called "the distance between her and yesterday is a photo" and talks about memories and how they shape our personality. These are some of the links to the performance and the making of the video work.YouTube video (In Spanish)YouTube videoYouTube videoAAP: Your best memory as a photographer?None in particular. I like when I start a new project.AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?I can't remember. A well-known neurologist (Á. Pascual Leone) once said that it's more important to forget than to remember, especially bad memoriesAAP:If you were someone else who would it be?I would have liked to be a good silent film director like Fritz Lang, Renoir or Murnau.
Marna Clarke
United States
A black and white Kodak advertisement caught my attention. The simple image of a cityscape with a teenage boy leaning against a wall plastered with faded, torn posters portrayed an honest and oddly poignant moment.It was 1972. I was living in New York City, married with two small sons. Inspired by the ad, I started carrying a point and shoot camera and capturing whatever struck me as memorable or unsettling. I soon bought a 35mm SLR camera and began educating myself with classes and exhibitions. At night I would transform my kitchen into a darkroom and stay up late watching the chemicals turn my observations into silver images. After moving with my family to Hartford, Connecticut, I built a legitimate darkroom in the basement of my house. In 1981, I began working professionally with a focus on portraiture, weddings and events. Color landscapes I had done in Europe and America landed me magazine work and eventually architecture/interior design documentation and advertising. I continued to pursue my own projects, receiving a Connecticut Individual Artist's Grant in 1987 for experimentation in B&W portraiture. I taught at the Hartford Art School for a couple of years as an adjunct instructor.In 1992 I stopped photographing, sold all my equipment and most of my possessions, and traveled. I had become certified to teach English as a Second Language and wanted employment in Europe. Instead I ended up in an ashram in India teaching English and learning meditation. I moved to California in 1996, and in 2005 began again to capture the world both within and around me. I had met a man who invited me to live with him, had gifted me a digital camera and told me to get back to work. I'm still with this man and still photographing. Time As We Know It
Milos Nejezchleb
Czech Republic
1978
Czech photographer Milos Nejezchleb has only been focusing on conceptual photographic work for 3 years; however, he has already more than 10 international awards. He is the absolute winner of the Nikon Calendar 2018 Contest, a Silver Medalist of the Fine Art Photography Award in London and the Double Trierenberg Super Circuit Gold Medalist. He also became the overall winner of its Liquid contest 2018 and finalist of the 13th Arte Laguna Prize, the International Art Contest in Venezia. In October 2018 he won the most prestigious competition in the Czech Republic-Czech Press Photo in the Lifestyle Single category. The most characteristic features of his photographs are noticeably colorful elements with a clear focus on the art of photography. Miloš often chooses current social topics, which he processes as stories using photographic series. These stories are narrated by people. He works on such series on his own and ensures the entire Art direction. He himself designs styling, looks for locations and carries out post-production. Besides conceptual art, where he points out currently discussed topics, Miloš has 2long-term thematic photographic cycles which document stories of real people. The most famous of them is photographic cycle "Stronger", in which Milos takes photos of people who have gone through hard times in their lives, and thanks to this experience they have become stronger personalities. Milos is at the beginning of his photographic career. He was fascinated by art photography when he bought his first camera. It happened before the birth of his first daughter. He is currently working on other production-intensive projects.
Bryan Adams
Canada
1959
Adams works as a photographer as well as musician, aside from being published in British Vogue, L'uomo Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Esquire, Interview magazine and i-D, among others, he has also shot advertising campaigns for Guess Jeans, Sand, Converse, Montblanc, John Richmond, Fred Perry, and more recently for Escada.He has won Lead Awards twice in Germany for his fashion work, most recently June 2012 and previously in 2006. Other photographic endeavours include founding the art fashion Zoo Magazine, based in Berlin, Germany for which he shoots for regularly.His first book of photos will be released by Steidl in 2012 entitled Exposed. Previous published collaborations include; American Women June 2005, for Calvin Klein in the United States; proceeds from this book went to Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center in New York City for their breast cancer research for programs,[58] and Made in Canada December 1999 for Flare Magazine in Canada; proceeds went to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Both books were dedicated to his friend Donna, who died of the disease.As a photographer, Adams has worked with many of his musical peers, including Lana Del Rey, The Who, Sting, Shania Twain, Mick Jagger, Arcade Fire, Ray Charles, Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, Robert Plant, Take That, Joss Stone, Plácido Domingo, Sarah McLachlan, Celine Dion, Billy Idol, Moby, Lindsay Lohan, Amy Winehouse, Annie Lennox, Peter Gabriel, Bryan Ferry, Lenny Kravitz, Die Antwoord, and Morrissey to name a few. On 27 November 2000 Adams played onstage with The Who at the Royal Albert Hall. A DVD of the concert was issued. Adams photographed the band and his photos appear in the DVD booklet. In 2002, Adams was invited, along with other photographers from the Commonwealth, to photograph Queen Elizabeth II during her Golden Jubilee; one of the photographs from this session was used as a Canadian postage stamp in 2004 and again in 2005 (see Queen Elizabeth II definitive stamp (Canada)), another portrait of both Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip is now in the National Portrait Gallery in London.Adams supports the Hear the World initiative as a photographer in its aim to raise global awareness for the topic of hearing and hearing loss. He photographed Michael J. Fox and Tatjana Patitz in the 2011 Carl Zeiss AG company calendar in New York City in the summer of 2010. The focus was about the size difference of the subjects in a comedic presentation.[62] In 2011, Adams provided the cover art for Lioness: Hidden Treasures, a posthumous release by Amy Winehouse.Source Wikipedia
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