Call for Entries - All About Photo Awards 2020

Robert Mapplethorpe

American Photographer | Born: 1946 - Died: 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.
The Photographs
Author: Robert Mapplethorpe
Publisher: J. Paul Getty Museum
Year: 2016 - Pages: 340
Robert Mapplethorpe: The Photographs offers a timely and rewarding examination of his oeuvre and influence. Drawing from the extraordinary collection jointly acquired in 2011 by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, as well as the Mapplethorpe Archive housed at the Getty Research Institute, the authors were given the unique opportunity to explore new resources and present fresh perspectives. The result is a fascinating introduction to Mapplethorpe’s career and legacy, accompanied by a rich selection of illustrations covering the remarkable range of his photographic work. All of these beautifully integrated elements contribute to what promises to become an essential point of access to Mapplethorpe’s work and practice.
 
Mapplethorpe: Perfection in Form
Author: Robert Mapplethorpe
Publisher: TeNeues
Year: 2009 - Pages: 227
Today, Robert Mapplethorpe is recognized as firmly an artist of his time, whose work was richly steeped in the classical tradition. Even his most transgressive work borrowed heavily from the conventions of such masters as Michelangelo. Although separated by the centuries, each artist helped shape how we view the world. This book explores the connection from both academic and aesthetic perspectives. Serving as exhibition catalogue for a May 2009 show at Florence’s Accademia, this volume shows how these two artists used the body to illustrate the human experience and contains valuable commentary by curators, as well as analysis from art and photography historians
 
Mapplethorpe
Author: Robert Mapplethorpe
Publisher: TeNeues
Year: 2007 - Pages: 382
This major, long out-of-print survey, widely regarded as the definitive overview of Mapplethorpe's black-and-white photography, is once again available in a new, updated edition. It presents a comprehensive selection of Mapplethorpe's nudes, portraits, self-portraits, floral still lifes and other works, including his best known and most controversial images. Mapplethorpe's choices were both innovative and bold, and his work has continued to resonate since his early death in 1989. His cutting-edge use of homoerotic and other challenging themes has become embedded in our culture, with pervasive echoes not only in the work of other artists but in mainstream advertising as well.
 
Robert Mapplethorpe: The Complete Flowers
Author: Robert Mapplethorpe, Herbert Muschamp
Publisher: TeNeues
Year: 2006 - Pages: 256
The theme of flowers is woven throughout Robert Mapplethorpe's oeuvre, coming to signify some of his deepest concerns as an artist. The photographs in "Flowers" range from images of the early 1980s to many taken in the months just before his death. The latter, in particular, are astounding in their intensity; here one finds both erotic drama and absolute clarity of composition - Mapplethorpe's gift at its most bold and uncompromising. Only a fraction of Robert Mapplethorpe's color flowers have been published or exhibited. This book, exquisitely designed and produced, is destined to become a crucial part of his legacy.
 
Photo LA
Sponsored Link
 
A Better Way to Learn Photoshop, Lightroom & Photography
Sponsored Link

More Great Photographers To Discover

Evgenia Arbugaeva
Nationality: Russian
Born: 1985

Evgenia Arbugaeva was born in 1985 in Tiksi, a small, remote town on the northern coast of Siberia that was also the basis for her Leica Oskar Barnack award-winning portfolio. In 2009 she graduated from the International Center of Photography in New York and has since been working as a freelance photographer. Evgenia has won various international competitions. In 2012 she was awarded the Magenta Foundation Bright Spark award and received a Magnum Foundation Emergency (…)
 
Anders Petersen
Nationality: Swedish
Born: 1944

Anders Petersen was born 1944 in Stockholm, Sweden. 14 years old his family moved to Karlstad in Värmland, where he met the artists ?Karin Bodland and Lars Sjögren.
In 1961 he stayed for some time in Hamburg in order to learn German and trying to write and paint. He didn’t take any pictures.

Five years later he met Christer Strömholm and became a student at his School of Photography in Stockholm. Strömholm was not just his teacher but also a close friend. (…)
Anders Petersen
Anders Petersen
Anders Petersen
Anders Petersen
Anders Petersen
Anders Petersen
Anders Petersen
Anders Petersen
 
Margo Ovcharenko
Nationality: Russian
Born: 1989
Margo is a Moscow based photographer.From a young age she has intuitivly taken portraits without posing her subjects. She yearns to reveal the fragile vulnerability of those she photographs. Drawing inspiration from light, color, and the use of perception in pre-nineteenth century paintings, she aims to narrow the distance between subject and viewer. Not believing in photography as a vehicle through which to search for aesthetic beauty, instead she sees it is a way to (…)
Margo Ovcharenko
Margo Ovcharenko
Margo Ovcharenko
Margo Ovcharenko
Margo Ovcharenko
Margo Ovcharenko
Margo Ovcharenko
Margo Ovcharenko
 
Milton Rogovin
Nationality: American
Born: 1909 - Died: 2011

Milton Rogovin was born in New York City in 1909. He graduated from Columbia University in 1931 with a degree in optometry and a deep concern for the rights of the worker. He moved to Buffalo, New York, in 1938, where he established his own optometric practice in 1939. In 1942, he married Anne Snetsky. That same year, he purchased his first camera, and was inducted into the U.S. Army, where he served in England as an optometrist until 1945. Upon his discharge, he (…)
 
Cally Whitham
Nationality: New Zealander

Taking an idealistic view of the world, Cally Whitham records the ordinary, transforming it into a surreal image, reflecting the way things are perceived and altered through nostalgia and memory. Driven by a desire to remember, Whitham uses her camera to collect images, which allows her to preserve her surroundings forever.

At the age of 11, she spent Christmas using her first roll of film shooting her favourite things, including her aunt's farm, an old (…)
Cally Whitham
Cally Whitham
Cally Whitham
Cally Whitham
Cally Whitham
Cally Whitham
Cally Whitham
Cally Whitham
 
Leonard Freed
Nationality: American
Born: 1929 - Died: 2006

Leonard Freed was a documentary photojournalist and longtime Magnum member. He was born to Jewish, working-class parents of Eastern European descent. Freed had wanted to be a painter, but began taking photographs in the Netherlands and discovered a new passion. He traveled in Europe and Africa before returning to the United States where he attended the New School and studied with Alexey Brodovitch, the art director of Harper's Bazaar. In 1958 he moved to Amsterdam to (…)
 
Idan Hojman
Nationality: Israeli
Born: 1980

Idan Hojman was born In Israel in 1980. He started making photography at the age of 21 while traveling in Asia. Idan uses a Rolleiflex analogical camera of medium format, mainly shooting in Black & White. He currently lives in Barcelona, Spain.

Artist Statement:

"For me photography is a form of meditation, a simple observation of what is happening around us, a way to connect with the present moment from instant to (…)
Idan Hojman
Idan Hojman
Idan Hojman
Idan Hojman
Idan Hojman
Idan Hojman
Idan Hojman
Idan Hojman
 
Kimiko Yoshida
Nationality: Japanese
Born: 1963

Kimiko Yoshida is a Japanese visual artist who was born in 1963 and lives in Europe since 1995.

Subtle, fictional, paradoxical, Kimiko Yoshida’s Bachelor Brides form an ensemble of quasi-monochromatic self-portraits, fragments of an intimate web, elaborating on a singular story: the feminine condition in Japan. Her images are large format, luminous squares, underlining her fantasy-bio epic. While still very young, Kimiko Yoshida was struck by the story of (…)
Kimiko Yoshida
Kimiko Yoshida
Kimiko Yoshida
Kimiko Yoshida
Kimiko Yoshida
Kimiko Yoshida
Kimiko Yoshida
Kimiko Yoshida
 
Joe Vitone
Nationality: American/Italian
Born: 1954
Joe Vitone is a documentary fine art photographer and educator living in Austin, Texas. His work consists of large format portraiture and landscape in the United States as well as panoramic and other views examining cultures abroad. He is Professor of Photocommunications at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas where he has lived with his family since 1991. He teaches traditional as well as digital photography and electronic media. He has received a National Endowment for (…)
Joe Vitone
Joe Vitone
Joe Vitone
Joe Vitone
Joe Vitone
Joe Vitone
Joe Vitone
Joe Vitone
 
Photo LA
Sponsored Link
Join our newsletter
Be up-to-date with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events
 
Photo Contest - All About Photo Awards 2020
 
Discover the 7th Issue of AAP Magazine
All About Photo Magazine showcases the winners of AAP Magazine Competitions
 
 
 
David Bailey: SUMO
Sponsored Link
 
Explore All About Photo