Photograph on paper, dry mounted on board
Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, New York, USA
A young Mapplethorpe is posed shirtless against a white background for this black and white portrait, with a playful boyish smile and an arm stretched across the background wall, his body remains mostly out of frame. Self-portrait marks the transition from collage, mixed media, and assemblage to Mapplethorpe’s exclusive focus on photography. It also marks the beginning of Mapplethorpe’s dedicated self-portraiture as central to his work. He would go on to create a variety of images exploring the interconnections of spirituality, nudity, and eroticism.
Modern Photography, Straight Photography, Conceptual Art
Born: 4 November 1946, New York, USA
Died: 9 March 1989, Massachusetts, USA
Mapplethorpe was a photographer, best known for his black-and-white photographs. Featuring an array of subjects including male and female nudes, homoerotica, and the BDSM subculture of the late 1960s Mapplethorpe sparked controversy and debate concerning the use of public funds for art and the limits of free speech. His work is still considered taboo by many; however he remains one of the most revered American photographers.