Sunday, 9 January 2011

Inspire #22 - Robert Mapplethorpe

I am in a three-way timeline-mix-up head warp at the moment, flitting between eras like a bee between flowers. I really must start reading one book at a time instead of several. A part of me is still lounging on sofas, reading Keats and daydreaming of meadows and nightingales. A very large part of me is in the American wartime forties. I have been engrossed in The Pacific since my dad got the series for Christmas, watching it repeatedly, fascinated by each individual storyline. I've also been reading Eugene Sledge's book and it is breaking my heart, but that merits a post of its own sometime soon.

I am also completely obsessed with the dream time, the late sixties and seventies. I am reading Patti Smith's autobiography Just Kids, and have fallen completely in love with Robert Mapplethorpe. I know he was gay and everything, but I would have done cheeky things with that man if he'd have let me. His photographs fill me with a mixed sense of awe and inadequacy...I find myself wondering why I cannot see such pure beauty in such simple things the way he obviously did. Often highly explicit and controversial, it is his simpler works that I am more enamoured by, particularly his self-portraits and his portraits of Smith. Just Kids is really my perfect book: music, art, New York and fashion (lots of love beads, sheepskin waistcoats and floaty dresses that I have been trawling the charity shops for), but it is Mapplethorpe's beauty, sensitivty and artistic vision that makes it so special. He died from complications arising from AIDS when he was only 42 years old, so no doubt I will be in tears by the end of the book. I still highly recommend it to you all.

Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, by Norman Seeff.
I'm not sure who took this one...


  1. He is handsome :) there's something about the photo of the nude man with the black disc around his head that I really love. I'm glad you enjoyed the book - your post reminded me that I haven't read for pleasure in a really long time. I should really start.

  2. I'll have to look into "Just Kids". I've never heard of it before but they way you described it has made me realise I haven't read something for pleasure in such a long time x


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