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Mapplethorpe Flora

The Complete Flowers

It would be difficult to dispute that flowers are a compelling and beautiful form of life. They have a dynamism and detailed appeal that is effortlessly attractive to humans so much so that some of history’s greatest artists have dedicated parts of their life and careers to them.

One of these artists is the legendary photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe. After graduating from the Pratt Institute in 1970 with a BFA in painting sculpture, it didn’t take the artist long to discover his true passion resided in the camera. Among working famously with a variety of portraiture and still lives, Mapplethorpe started working with flowers in 1973 and spent the rest of his life working intimately with the subject. In fact, one of the artist's first notable exhibitions occurred at the Holly Solomon Gallery in 1977, and it featured all images of flowers. Through his artistic eye, he was able to experiment with intersecting media of flora and photography. These works exemplify his ability to expertly balance shadow and provoke the eye and the mind to look differently. With the lenses of his cameras and projections of light and color, Mapplethorpe shows us flowers in a new way. They become shapes and images in the artist’s hands.

This book, Mapplethorpe Flora: The Complete Flowers manages to seamlessly house the years of dedication the photographer spent working with many kinds of flowers. But moreover, it does so in a way that compliments the aesthetic of Mapplethorpe’s vision and creates a seamless experience for viewers to soak in the artworks. To flip through these pages is truly to soak in Mapplethorpe's artistry and get a sense of his beautiful, creative take on still life photography.

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