Robert Mapplethorpe
[Photographer, b. 1946, Floral Park, Long Island, d. 1989, Boston, Massachusetts.]

 When I have sex with someone I forget who I am. For a minute I even forget I’m human. It’s the same thing when I’m behind a camera. I forget I exist. 
 I don’t think that there’s that much difference between a photograph of a fist up someone’s ass and a photograph of carnations in a bowl. 
 I did a picture of a guy with his finger up his cock. I think that for what it is, it’s a perfect picture, because the hand gestures are beautiful. I know most people couldn’t see the hand gestures, but compositionally I think it works. I think the hand gesture is beautiful. 
 My work is about seeing—seeing things like they haven’t been seen before. 
 I am obsessed with beauty. I want everything to be perfect, and of course it isn’t. And that’s a tough place to be because you’re never satisfied. 
 I think that it was a great advantage to go into photography not knowing much about it. Not thinking. I think one of the problems with many photographers today is that they never see for themselves, but just like everybody else... 
 Perfection means you don’t question anything about the photograph. 
 I was part of [the gay sadomasochistic subculture]. Some of those experiences that I later recorded I had experienced firsthand, without a camera. 
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