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Flowers [Paperback]

Robert Mapplethorpe
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 35.00
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Book Description

22 July 1993
The theme of flowers is woven throughout Robert Mapplethorpe's oeuvre, coming to signify some of his deepest concerns as an artist. The photographs in "Flowers" range from images of the early 1980s to many taken in the months just before his death. The latter, in particular, are astounding in their intensity; here one finds both erotic drama and absolute clarity of composition - Mapplethorpe's gift at its most bold and uncompromising. Only a fraction of Robert Mapplethorpe's color flowers have been published or exhibited. This book, exquisitely designed and produced, is destined to become a crucial part of his legacy.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 49 pages
  • Publisher: Bulfinch; New edition edition (22 July 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821220195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821220191
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 25.5 x 30.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 481,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aspirations 29 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
No photographer could fail to be humbled by Mapplethorpe's pictures. Get this book and think about the 'deceptively simple' technique - and then fail to duplicate it ;) - but keep trying......
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perpetual Spring Provides Creative Inspiration! 11 May 2004
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This book deserves more than five stars. It is the finest set of flower photography that I have ever seen, and presents more dimensions of what a flower can mean that I would have thought possible.
I took a course of creativity from author Dan Wakefield a number of years ago. One of the many excellent exercises we did was to take a flower and write as much as we could about what we observed during an hour. At the end of the time, I was bursting with new ideas for all kinds of things. Try it sometime!
Seeing this marvelous book by Robert Mapplethorpe (that would earn a G rating if it were a motion picture) reminded me of that exercise. I had the same feeling as I examined each image, and had a great desire to start taking notes.
The essay, A Final Flower, by Patti Smith helps put these great works in perspective. Mr. Mapplethorpe found it "as easy to hurl beauty as anything else." "He came, in time, to embrace the flower as the embodiment of all the contradictions reveling within [him]." He was inspired by "their sleekness, their fullness, Humble narcissus, Passionate zen." As such, he found flowers to be "worthy conspirators in the courting and development of conflicting emotions."
The images themselves evoke more complicated views than any others of flowers that I have seen. The closest to his style is that which Georgia O'Keeffe used in her painings. But there are more dimensions to these photographs.
For example, a single flower may evoke a part of a human body, but it will also stimulate an impression of a human emotion contained in the flower image separate from the body part. Further, the shadowed background behind the flower will add movement and context that greatly expand the meaning of the overall image. Mr.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perpetual Spring Provides Creative Inspiration! 15 April 2001
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book deserves more than five stars. It is the finest set of flower photography that I have seen before, and presents more dimensions of what a flower can mean that I would have thought possible.
I took a course of creativity from author Dan Wakefield a number of years ago. One of the many excellent exercises we did was to take a flower and write as much as we could about what we observed during an hour. At the end of the time, I was bursting with new ideas for all kinds of things. Try it sometime!
Seeing this marvelous book by Robert Mapplethorpe (that would earn a G rating if it were a motion picture) reminded me of that exercise. I had the same feeling as I examined each image, and had a great desire to start taking notes.
The essay, A Final Flower, by Patti Smith helps put these great works in perspective. Mr. Mapplethorpe found it "as easy to hurl beauty as anything else." "He came, in time, to embrace the flower as the embodiment of all the contradictions reveling within [him]." He was inspired by "their sleekness, their fullness, Humble narcissus, Passionate zen." As such, he found flowers to be "worthy conspirators in the courting and development of conflicting emotions."
The images themselves evoke more complicated views than any others of flowers that I have seen. The closest to his style is that which Georgia O'Keeffe used in her painings. But there are more dimensions to these photographs.
For example, a single flower may evoke a part of a human body, but it will also stimulate an impression of a human emotion contained in the flower image separate from the body part. Further, the shadowed background behind the flower will add movement and context that greatly expand the meaning of the overall image. Mr. Mapplethorpe also displays a genius for using varieties of color together to express complicated rhythms that make looking at the images a lot like listening to a drum beating a distinctive tattoo. He also employs juxtaposition (to make one thing appear to be part of something else), allusions to emerging and receding, and contrasts to great effect.
The technical quality of the images is superb. The lighting, detail, and composition of each image are precisely as must have been intended. Each image is an exquisite gem. Although I liked all of the images, some appealed to me more than others. Here are my favorites:
Irises, 1988; Rose, 1989; Orchid, 1977; White Longstem Flower, 1982; Orchids, 1982; Orchid, 1986; Flowers in a Vase, 1985; Orchids, 1987; and Poppy, 1988 (second one). I would like to specially praise the astonishing Calla Lilies (1985-1988) for their amazing beauty and inspiring qualities.
Where else can something simple display so much important meaning and complexity about nature and the viewer? I suggest that you consider looking at leaves, rocks, and feathers as possible additional sources of inspiration. Try your hand at arranging tableaux that use the vocabulary of Mr. Mapplethorpe's work here.
May your heart and mind be suffused with the wonders around you . . . creating a meditation inspired by nature!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning 3 Feb 2002
By Stephen McHenry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Unbelivable intensity out of such simplicity. Here is Mapplethorpe's ultimate genius, astoundingly powerful from such simple set-ups. The colour, composition, lighting, choice of vases and flowers: All the basics but brilliantly done.
I saw Mapplethorpe's famous exhibition in Philadelphia just before he died,the exhibit that was banned at the Corcoran in D.C., then siezed for a while in Cincinnati. The flower photographs were dye-transfer prints, which made the colour surprisingly intense; some were almost 3' tall. People would stand for a long time in front of those, enraptured, sensing the work on several different levels at once. This book does a good job of bringing that to you. You can look at this book over and over again, put in on a coffe table to start converstaions or, after having not seen it for a while, rediscover it to be awed and inspired anew once again.
The edition I have is a 1990 paperback 12" in height; the pictures are presented one to a spread, so that there is a blank white page accross from the flower, which is a very classy touch, completely the correct way to do it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flowers as themselves and other worldly things 13 July 2000
By Timothy J Good - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a book of pictures that are technically breathtaking as photographs and emotionally moving as pictures. The images evoke deep feelings but whether the artist's feelings in making them are the same as mine in viewing them, I cannot tell. They are far too subtle for that.
These are photographs of flowers. As photographs, they are amazing. But the real worth of the collection is that the pictures he created are of other worldly things.
I have lots of books of photographs and of paintings, too. I have none that I think exceeds Mapplethorpe's achievements here.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite the best available 7 Feb 2004
By L. Moniz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While the photos are stunning, the presentation is a little rough. While most photos are presented with a blank page opposite there are a few photos that face other photos. This is a little jarring but worse is the two photos that are printed across the facing page. The spine break really detracts from a pair of beautiful photos.
Mapplethorpe was a genius with a camera and this book gives us many reminders of his skill. The publisher, however, lacks the artistic eye that would have prevented the distractions of a few photos that are damaged or badly placed by the layout. Minus a star because it could have been layed out better
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, uncluttered, stunningly beautiful photographs. 21 April 1999
By Tom Rose - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Mapplethorpe is notorious for his explicit images of nudity and homosexuality, but in this wonderful set of photographs he reveals the true breadth of his talent and gives us a book that can be safely left on the coffee table no matter who is visiting. Each full page photograph is a beautiully composed study of flower, receptacle, and background. There is only one word to describe the quality of light, the balance and contrast of colours, shapes, textures, and the technical proficiency with which they are captured ... Perfect. Buy it!!
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