Calla Lilly, 1984 – Robert Mapplethorpe

As well as being notorious for his highly controversial nudes, Mapplethorpe was also renowned for his hauntingly beautiful still life shots of flowers. He generally shot orchids and calla lillies and generally in a 1:1 format.

The placement of the flowers was very deliberate and Mapplethorpe works with their lines and shadows to create images which are undeniably sensual- the stamen of the flower in many shots is exposed, proud and phallic, while in others, such as this photograph, the emphasis is on feminine curves.

I have experimented with flowers in my own folio & have tried to emulate pictures like this one- I specifically wanted to see if I could create an image with the same dramatic impact. I have concentrated on creating deep negative space and accentuating the textures and shape of the flower itself’

One aspect of still life photography that really appeals to me is the ability to really concentrate on a subject- it provides to opportunity to really manipulate what you are shooting in a way that is more difficult with other genres. It enables the photographer to devote their attention entirely to how they’d like to present the subject, how they’d like to use negative space, light and shadow.

Explore posts in the same categories: still life, Still Life -written piece

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