From: Thor Bols (email@example.com)
Date: 11/03/00-03:46:22 PM Z
C'mon, folks. To include Mapplethorpe in a list of the 5 photographers that
affected the medium to the greatest degree? That's just silly, and an
insult to Gene Smith, Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, etc. THESE are the artists
that ought to be spoken of, if one has to present a "capsule summary".
Monica, I am VERY familiar with Mapplethorpe's work. I bought a photograph
of Patti Smith that he made back when she was still his roomate. As I said,
I like his work, but I can't see how anyone can say it has had any
particular influence on the medium. I never attempted to "rip apart" his
technical merits. He's talented with a camera and strobe, but no more so
that hundreds of other studio photographers. And the capture of "black
skin" is more of an accomplishment for Tom Baril, who did his printing. As
for his "controversial" subject matter, gay sexual practices where captured
on film before and after Mapplethorpe. I've always felt that most of these
works are his most awkward: the activities lack any looseness or passion,
they appear stilted and posed. Mind-blowing, its not.
>From: Monica Mitchell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: Re: photo history lecture
>Date: Fri, 03 Nov 2000 16:04:02 -0500 (EST)
>>Visually? Nothing too new here, either, except *some* of his work
>>a documenary-style depiction of the gay subculture, albiet "shocking"
>>to the the bible-belt extremeists of the USA to threaten the very
>>of publically-sponsered art. Certainly he has not "greatly affected the
>I have problems with this statement.
>Anyone who does something no one
>has done before is in fact,
>"affecting the medium".
>Mapplethorpe did that.
>He produced some great imagery.
>Both beautiful *and* ugly.
>Some of it, like the body of work
>you reference above, was mind blowing.
>How many people knew that
>subculture existed before
>Mapplethorpe's images came out?
>How many people realized their
>sexual fantasies, or pequlirities,
>were in fact, quite normal?
>How many people asked questions,
>started thinking, started relotutions,
>all focuesed around on body of work?
>Isn't that what we want out of art?
>Isn't that the whole point?
>The think, to express, to feel...
>Isn't that "influential"??
>You can rip apart his technical merits.
>Honestly, I don't know how
>he got from idea to print.
>Frankly, I don't care.
>His work is visually stimulating,
>and his ideas are thought provoking.
>And he's part of the reason
>I started to *really* look at
>photography as an expressive
>art form rather then a series
>of pretty pictures to be hung
>over the mantle piece or
>stuck in a photo album.
>For the most part,
>his work said something.
>And that says a lot.
>>Mapplethorpe has been included for sensational reasons alone, in order to
>>reduce the "yawn factor". What kind of a priority is this? His inclusion
>>calls into question the ethics of the instructor, and with it her
>>competency. Would other disciplines use sensationalism for a selection
>>criterion? Economics? History? So why must photography be "dumbed
>I think if you look at
>Mapplethorpe's work that
>doesn't include leather and whips,
>you might think differently.
>The way he photographed
>black skin on white is a
>photo study in and of itself.
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