n°117/ Penn's vs Mapplethorpe's Flowers

April 2014


A friend of mine would tell me as we were visiting Mapplethorpe's Paris exhibition: "Well, Penn did it too. And he did it first." She meant the flowers. Indeed, Irving Penn started in the late 60s whereas Robert Mapplethorpe dedicated to them in the 80s but it's funny to think that most of their photographs were contemporary. Whereas Penn's flowers are vulnerable, round, dry, modest, fragile, distracted, sensuous, perishable, Mapplethorpe's are powerful, vertical, humid, venous, focused, seminal, timeless…


 Irving Penn


 Robert Mapplethorpe