Mapplethorpe photographed many of the most famous people of the day.
Some of the celebrities who came through his studio (Patti Smith, Deborah Harry) were not yet household names when he created his now-iconic portraits of them. Others (David Hockney, Andy Warhol, Isabella Rossellini) were already-established stars in their fields.
The casual formality of much of his portrait photography of the late 1970s gave way to a more polished, glamorous style that became his trademark by the mid-1980s.
Like Warhol, for whom he had a rivalrous admiration, Mapplethorpe had a lifelong fascination with wealth, success, and fame. Mapplethorpe’s participation in the overlapping worlds of art, music, and fashion gave him easy entrée to the world of celebrity. His skill as a photographer and his reputation as “the bad boy of photography” made him the artist celebrities wanted for their portraits.
As Mapplethorpe’s health worsened near the end of his life, he poignantly remarked, “I just hope I can live long enough to see the fame.”
Fame fascinated him...
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