A documentary on conceptual photographer Robert Mapplethorpe is due out on HBO in spring and as the trailer reveals, the film won’t shy away from the visionary’s darker side. Directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, it stars Matt Smith and Girls star, Zosia Mamet and tells the story of Mapplethorpe's life and (often controversial) work through archive footage and interviews with close friends and colleagues.
Mapplethorpe’s photography, which featured self-portraits, male and female nudes, still life and celebrity portraiture, came to define a certain of era of 70’s downtown New York bohemia. He was the on/off lover of musician Patti Smith (played by Mamet), and their relationship features heavily in her memoir Just Kids.
In 1975 Andy Warhol released a special, photographic issue of Interview Magazine, which he founded and is still going strong today, featuring Mapplethorpe’s earliest, published photograph. The picture was a provocative still-life titled Banana & Keys and stood out from the more classic images by the likes of David Hockney and Interview’s staff photographers, and helped him gain recognition.
Mapplethorpe, who died from complications from AIDS in 1989, rocked the world with his ground-breaking art and hopes are high that the documentary will be equally as unflinching.
Images courtesy of HBO and The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation