robert mapplethorpe's photographs have fundamentally affected the imagery of sensuality and corporeality. his blatantly erotic nudes that everyone seems to remember him from were enclosed into less scandalous images of flora and classical echoing studies of the human form that radiate beauty instead of presenting obvious, in-your-face provocation.
just like many contemporaries who outlived him – such as nan goldin – mapplethorpe drew his inspiration and models from the rich subcultures of new york city. his continuous preferred format was the polaroid: the fast formation of the small picture fascinated him as the perfect medium for anxiously moving and spontaneous times. despite his later experiments with other media and larger formats, his polaroids strike me as the most definitive and impressive.
if you are by any change visiting oxford, uk, or anywhere nearby, his polaroids are exhibited at modern art oxford until 13 september. if you cannot make it, just browse around at mapplethorpe.org.
photos via dazed digital