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Robert Mapplethorpe
Robert Mapplethorpe photography books. Robert Mapplethorpe was born in 1946 in Long Island. He took his first photographs using a Polaroid camera. He wished to use his own photographic images in his paintings, rather than pictures from magazines. “I never liked photography,” he is quoted as saying, “Not for the sake of photography. I like the object. I like the photographs when you hold them in your hand.” His first Polaroids were self-portraits and the first of a series of portraits of his close friend, the singer-artist-poet Patti Smith. These early works were shown in groups or presented in painted frames that were as significant as the photograph itself. The shift to photography happened during the mid-seventies, when he acquired a large format press camera and began taking photographs of a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. These included artists, composers, socialites, pornographic film stars and members of the S & M underground. Some of these photographs were shocking for their content but exquisite in their technical mastery. During the early 1980s, his photos began a shift toward a phase of refinement of subject and an emphasis on classical formal beauty. During this period he concentrated on statuesque male and female nudes, delicate flower still lifes, and formal portraits of artists and celebrities. Mapplethorpe produced a consistent body of work that strove for balance and perfection and established him in the top rank of twentieth-century artists. In 1987 he established the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to promote photography, support museums that exhibit photographic art, and to fund medical research and finance projects in the fight against AIDS and HIV-related infection.