Robert Mapplethorpe left behind a river of material for his esteemed legacy. He took up a serious interest in photography starting in the late 1960s, and worked until his death at age 42 from complications connected with the AIDS virus in 1989. The Getty Museum has prided itself in the guardianship of his provocative works. He was less a technician toward process, but very strong in visual impact. Throughout Mapplethorpe’s short career his work was often censored, or completely banned from display.
Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures (2016) is a documentary directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato. Mapplethorpe’s life is well chronicled, and the film boasts interviews with many of the people who were in his presence.
Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe (2007) is directed by James Crump. Noted art collector, Sam Wagstaff had the brilliant foresight to foster the important photographic work of Robert Mapplethorpe. Like Mapplethorpe, AIDS claimed Wagstaff’s life, in 1987, just two years prior to Mapplethorpe’s death.