Many of Mapplethorpe’s most iconic photographs testify to significant relationships in his life.
His first muse and soul mate was Patti Smith, whom he met in 1967. They lived and worked together for the next seven years, fostering each other’s artistic ambitions and exploring New York City’s downtown scene. Smith posed confidently for Mapplethorpe’s camera, exuding the charisma that would make her a breakout star as a poet and rock musician.
In 1979 Mapplethorpe encountered another female muse, the bodybuilding champion Lisa Lyon. Their collaboration resulted in over 180 photographs that ranged widely in tone and attitude, from severe to flamboyant to mischievously flirtatious.
Mapplethorpe also worked repeatedly with favorite male models, such as Phillip Prioleau, Jack Walls, and Ken Moody. Even when he wasn’t personally close to his models, Mapplethorpe said, “I loved them when I was taking the picture.”
Certain people enthralled him...
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