Thursday, 24 January 2019

Robert Mapplethorpe

A film was made about Robert Mapplethorpe's life last year. It got me thinking again about famous photographers. I keep coming back to this subject, here is a link to my last post about it. 

He was very controversial, with many exhibitions and protests as a result.

I searched for examples of his work, and I have to say I found what I expected. Black and white, stark pictures of famous people. And explicit portraits. Part of his fame was because of the sexual content of his pictures. But does that make them good pictures?

And this on the BBC website, why is it the best album cover ever?

The celebrity portraits, why is he remembered for them, even revered? The fact he had access that others didn't could be a reason, but the pictures are not remarkable. He hasn't connected to the subjects, so it can't be that skill.

The sexual pictures, could be classed as porn. They are of sex acts and show sexual arrousal. But because of who he was and that they are black and white; it's art. Exhibitions of his work were cancelled, because of the content. But that just increased his fame.

I just don't get it. Today artists like Tracey Emin for example seem to gain more fame and fortune as they move further away from what I think most would see as art. It seems the more controversial you are, the more success you will have.

Art can give topics and issues more exposure, maybe help to bring about change. But if the majority of people need the topic or issue explained because the art doesn't do it. How is that helping? It just becomes elitist, a way to show off wealth. And to demostrate intelligence because they "get it" and most don't.

I am happy with my photography, it would be great to make a living from it. But for now I'll push myself to be more creative, and explore opportunities as they come my way.


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