Photography-Inspired Still Life photoshoot

For my still life photo-shoot I will be using ideas from Robert Maplethorpes still life flowers.

Here is the research I did for Robert Maplethorpe and why I was inspired to use his work in my own.

Robert Maplethorpe studied drawing, painting and sculpture. He experimented with various materials including images such as pictures cut out from books and magazines. Maplethorpe started off taking pictures with a basic Polaroid camera and started to produce his own photography in the 1970’s.

Maplethorpe focused his photography more towards still life pictures of flowers (specially orchids). His produced pictures are very elegant and simplistic. He mostly worked in black and white up until his later work, which he named ‘New Colours.’ His work was to show people the unexpected and make people feel intrigued by his photographs. He likes to use black and white and contrasting backgrounds on his still life flowers, he also likes to use colour popping, and this makes the audience focus on the main subject more.

Maplethorpe seems to like the look of decaying flowers as they wilt away along with the colour of the flower that once used to be colourful. Here is an example:

In this image Robert Maplethorpe has used a black and white filter for this decaying flower. The black and white filter may represent how the flower is dying and how it cant bloom anymore and be filled with colour, it could also show how the flower is in despair due to the way it droops downwards. Furthermore, the way the petals curl inwards may show how the flower is giving up, or how it is ready to let another flower bloom in its place.

The clarity of Maplethorpes composition reveals hidden stigmas within the curling petals, it is passionate and declarative. His work is very varied in what he has set as his main subjects, which I think catches the attention of people, which is all part of what makes them so unique and eye catching for his audience. Even though his pictures may look simple and bare, he puts alternative meanings behind them and the simplicity becomes more puzzling.

Malethorpes work is more focused on adults rather than teenagers or children, due to is nude photographs. However, his still life flowers could be focused on a range of ages, maybe towards teenagers and adults as they understand the meanings behind his pictures more.


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