In December I wrote about my meeting Robert Mapplethorpe. It as a fascinating time. My good friend and co-worker, was the model for “Man in a Polyester Suit.” While trying to find a copy of the picture to post with the blog, I cam across several commentaries on the photo and the model, I laughed so had while reading one by “Mapplethorpe biographer.” I was certain that she made the shit up. She said; “Robert Mapplethorpe found “god” in a gay bar called Sneakers one drizzly September evening in 1980 after leaving Keller’s [a former S& M bar that was now a gathering place for men interested in biracial sex].
Robert saw Milton Moore pacing up and down West Street, and was instantly transfixed by his beautiful face and forlorn stare. Mapplethorpe invited Moore to his apartment. Upon learning of his ambition to become a model, Mapplethorpe agreed to create a portfolio.”
Let me re-write it to more accurately reflect what happened. Robert met a scrawny ass black dude with a great smile packing serious meat in his skin tight jeans. Milton regular cruised the meat rack in search of bottom boys. Robert saw that Mitlon looked stoned and wanted to know if he had a joint. They went back to Bobbies place and got stoned together and fucked for several hours. Mapplethorpe then asked if he could take some pictures.
Her commentary continues on in very lofty prose analyzing “the genitals … pandering to the notion that blacks existed only as sex objects.” No! He was a size queen and hit a mother load! All that said, I jumped at the opportunity to watch Mapplethorpe do a photo-shoot in DC. I personal feel that most of his best work was black and white. That said his very best was the calla lilies! Although not black and white film, the contrast of the white flower and the black background combined with his eye for lighting are amazing.
My interest in photography started back in high school and I worked part time for the Times Crescent Newspaper, a local weekly paper in southern Maryland. I started as a deliver driver and then work my way in to the photo lab developing (by hand) photos the reporters had taken. I loved the dark room (have ever since). I loved the smell, and the excitement of creating something out of nothing. After the official photos were done I would experiment, overlaying negatives and playing with shadows. To this day I love the look of B&W photos and movies. At times when I frame a picture in my mind I see it and black and white. I guess how different colors are going to look as shades of gray. Just look at some of these photos and notice how converting to black and white actually makes them more striking. In black and white the lines and definition are much more clear.