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  1. #1

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    How much of Mapplethorps's art was Mapplethorps?

    I am not a fan of the work of Mapplethorp but he was responsible for some amazingly beautiful prints. Or was he? Help from photo historians is needed here. I believe he simply gave the film to "his darkroom man" who was actually responsible for the look. I believe it was Tom Baril. If this is the case, how much of this work belongs to Mapplethorpe and how much belongs to Baril?
    Jack B

  2. #2
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    Tom Baril was Mapplethorp's principal printer, at least for significant periods during Mapplethorp's career.

    The message that I took away from reading the Mapplethorp biography is that he had lots of ideas, but was not especially adept at the craft aspects of photography. Baril, by contrast, is a consumate craftsman.

  3. #3
    blansky's Avatar
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    This dilemma could be a factor in the work of many photographers. The popular ones of today like Ritts, Gorman, Leibowitz (sp?) etc who have published books are rarely involved in the printing. In many aspects they aren't even in control of a lot of the ideas. Since they are mostly commercial photographers who work for art directors they, in many cases get credit for ideas they didn't concieve of. A lot of that work is done by committee.

    Almost no portrait photographer in the last few years did their own printing but sent it off to a lab.

    Avedon had lab people doing his work. It can be argued that they oversaw the process but to some, that is like da Vinci telling his assistant how he wanted the Mona Lisa painted.


    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  4. #4
    david b's Avatar
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    Mapplethorp[SIZE=4]E[/SIZE]

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    These guys did have they're own approach/stle prior to fame. A lot of the originality was fed from then cultivated the commercial concepts designers got the inspiration from. In the case of Gorman I know he did all his own darkroom work for a lot of years before the workload became to demanding. Ritz,Newton and mapplethorpe all had printers. In Mapplethorpe's case his work really took on a great look once his printer took over and I think (only a guess) his style really fed from this printing approach.
    Personally I do not see the problem with printers doing the work. Would like their viewpoint as another tool to learn from while developing an idea. at the same time I think the prints should be signed on the back by the printer. It really is an art, so they should get some recognition.
    Stop trying to get into my mind, There is nothing there!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by blansky
    Avedon had lab people doing his work. It can be argued that they oversaw the process but to some, that is like da Vinci telling his assistant how he wanted the Mona Lisa painted.
    It's illuminating to see Avedon's very explicit printing instructions for his American West pictures. There are a great more subtle details than I ever conceived of anyone being able to do. That's one project, at least, that there's no doubt who was the artist, even though there were others setting up the cameras, holding the lights, loading and changing the film, and doing the printing.

  7. #7
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Mapplethorpe was the one going into sex clubs to document underground gay BDSM culture, so that part was his. Mapplethorpe's themes, selection of models, composition and lighting were certainly his own.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  8. #8
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Without a great image , a printer is only rendering tones.

  9. #9
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    Gerald Moore was well known in the world of music as an accompanist - the guy who normally sits at the piano while the singer takes the bows. But Moore was also an iconoclast, and so when the song ended, he insisted on standing with the singer to take the bows. And he got away with it.

  10. #10
    jd callow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
    Mapplethorpe was the one going into sex clubs to document underground gay BDSM culture, so that part was his. Mapplethorpe's themes, selection of models, composition and lighting were certainly his own.
    My view of maplethorpe's stuff*...
    Much of the 'gay BDSM culture' stuff was, outside of the subject, pretty mundane -- which may have been his intent. The uptown images (those that got sold but not talked about as much) where often wonderfully conceived and executed, but the subject was often mundane.

    *With credit to an art teacher who referred to the two main bodies of wrk as Uptown and downtown.

    *

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