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Release of the first full-length film about Robert Mapplethorpe


Mapplethorpe: Look at the Picture is the first feature-length reference documentary illustrating the life and career of the controversial artist, who died from AIDS in 1989.The only thing even more scandalous than Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography was his life: he was obsessed by the magic of photography and that of sex, and throughout his career he tried to connect the two with an insatiable passion.

“Look at the pictures!” It was with these words that the Republican Senator Jesse Helms denounced Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs. Twenty years later, this is exactly what the documentary filmmakers Fenton Bailey et Randy Barbato, did, thanks to their unhindered access to his archived photographic works.

Mapplethorpe had hundreds of lovers but only a handful of them had an influence on this life;  these few  participated in this documentary. To help round out this intimate portrait of Mapplethorpe, his elder sister, Nancy, and his younger brother, Edward, also contributed to the film. An artist and photographer himself, Edward Mapplethorpe, worked for a long time as an assistant to his brother Robert.

But the most important personality in this documentary remains Mapplethorpe himself. Thanks to many unpublished interviews recently discovered, it’s he who tells his own story. With surprising sincerity and frankness, Mapplethorpe talks about his life, his loves and his work, which in his eyes, were all one, and intermingled indiscriminately in his art. His confessions are accompanied by pictures from the archives, also unpublished and rare, that give cause for reconsideration of the Mapplethorpe myth, but also the man, who lived in the same way that he created, in black and white.

The result is a unique monograph of Robert Mapplethorpe, who dedicated his life to making photography a respected and appreciated art form in the contemporary art market. His last exhibition, the retrospective The Perfect Moment, which he himself had conceived even though he was dying, provoked a real shock wave and opened a cultural debate that is still relevant today. And since his death, his foundation, which is now worth hundreds of millions of dollars, has greatly enriched the collections of several great institutions such as the Guggenheim and Getty museums, by exhibiting many of his photographs.

Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures
In cinemas in France on 21st December 2016
Available in the USA on HBO

The Eye of Photography is sharing in the release of this film by offering 2 places to see the film to the first 10 people responding with their email address. Contact [email protected].

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