Robert Mapplethorpe Research

Robert Mapplethorpe is a famous still life photographer who is very well known for his bespoke still life images of flowers. From first looking at the images they seem very basic and simple, with minimal colours and textures. Even though they are still life images they all seem to be taking using roughly the same camera angle and exposure. The way he has positioned the flower shows his intentions to make his pictures seem basic but also it helps to put his message and his intentions of the image across. The variety of shots that he uses captures all the beauty and the aspects of the flowers from a different aspect each time. Each different image shows a different perspective on the flowers and that’s one thing that makes him unique as a still life photographer. He keeps the backgrounds of his images very plain and almost minimalistic and he does this to draw the viewers attention away from anything behind the image and towards the flower he is photographing. Here is one of his flower images.


This image is called ‘Poppy’ and it captures a growing poppy still on its branch/stem. You cant see the inner part of the poppy and you can only see the behind part and the bottom if the flower. You can see the different tone of colours and the clear distribution of light throughout the photo. The light start off at the bottom of the stem and as you go into the centre of the stem the image becomes darker but as you get more towards the bud of the flower the light becomes brighter and therefore this makes the colours of the poopy a lot brighter and this poppy part of the picture becomes more vibrant. The shape and all of the different curves in the image especially from the stems shows a sense of movement in the picture, almost like the picture is continuously growing. The colour of the poppy in general is very bright and vivid and this is created a lot more vividly when shot with a black background, however he may have edited the colour scale and brightness of the image which could make the colour seem to some people very unnatural. The light shines clear and bright on the blossomed bud, but however the bud on the other stem is shot in darkness and isn’t very visible and this could symbolise that it is yet to blossom and it could also be saying that you can’t be bright until you grow and blossom fully. This image could also be a clear representation of his sexuality he realised that he was a homosexual and before he realised this he could have been symbolic of the closed bud in the picture. But as the stem goes on he could come towards light and happiness in his life and this could be symbolic of the full-blossomed flower. Also because the closed bud was in the darkness it could represent that he was going through a dark patch when coming to terms with his sexuality and his current situation in life. But as the full flower is in bright light this shows that there has been progress in his life and he is finally happy because he has come to terms with his sexuality.


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