Robert Mapplethorpe

1946 (Floral Park (Etats-Unis)) / 1989 (Boston)

Seduced by the instantaneity of the Polaroid - "It was the perfect medium for the 1970s and 1980s when everything was going very fast", he observed - Robert Mapplethorpe claimed to be an authentic photographer in 1973. Sam Wagstaff, twenty years his senior, became his mentor and lover at the same time. A former curator of the Detroit Museum of Art, he collected old photographs, including portraits by Nadar, which inspired Mapplethorpe. Above all, Wagstaff introduced him to the New York milieu and campaigned for the recognition of the photographic medium on the art market. He bought a large loft and a Hasselblad camera for his protégé, who abandoned the experiments of Polaroid to devote himself to more classic silver photography, taken in the studio.

Robert Mapplethorpe
1980, gelatin silver print, 35.5 × 35.7 cm.
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

Artist's issues

Issue 74

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