Robert was an American photographer known for his "sensitive yet blunt" black and white photos. Robert was born November 4th, 1946 in Floral Parks, New York. He then died March 9th, 1989 at age 42 due to HIVS/AIDS. He died in Boston, Massachusetts. Mapplethorpe is the son of Joan Dorothy (Maxey) and Harry Irving Mapplethorpe, an electrical engineer. He grew up with five brothers and sisters. He was English, Irish and German.
He studied for a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where he majored in Graphic Arts. he soon dropped out before getting his degree. He took his first photographs in the late 1960s or early 1970s using a Polaroid camera. Mapplethorpe worked primarily in a studio, and almost exclusively in black and white, with the exception of some of his later work. In 1972 he met Sam Wagstaff, who would become his mentor. In the mid-1970s Wagstaff acquired a Hasselblad medium-format camera and Mapplethorpe began taking photographs of a wide circle of acquaintances, including artists. During this time, he became friends with New Orleans artist George Dureau, whose work had a profound impact on Mapplethorpe, so much so that he restaged many of Dureau's early photographs
By the 1980s Mapplethorpe's subject matter focused on male and female nudes, delicate flower still lifes, and formal portraits of artists and celebrities. Mapplethorpe's first studio was in Manhattan. In the 1980s, Wagstaff bought a top-floor loft for Robert, where he lived and used as his shooting space. He kept the loft as his darkroom. Mapplethorpe was interested in symmetry and beauty, and approached all of his subjects with the same eye through composition, use of color, contrasts, lighting. He often listed Michelangelo as a primary influence.
Robert Mapplethorpe will be known for his black and white pictures, his nude photography and flower still life. It is now considered common for artists to dabble across mediums and find one that best suits their message. Mapplethorpe’s reptuation as one of his era’s most talented photographers continued to rise at the turn of the 21st century.