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

 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 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. 
 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. 
 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 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... 
 People have done pornographic pictures forever, but most of the people who involve themselves in explicit sexuality aren’t really artists. 
 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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