HBO Documentary Film "Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures" - Review by Sanjini Bhakta

Sanjini is an actress, producer, writer and black belt martial artist.

Sanjini’s You Tube channel (Eye of the Empress, Motel Patel)


HBO Documentary Films

MAPPLETHORPE: LOOK AT THE PICTURES will debut on HBO in April 2016.  This HBO Documentary Film is produced and directed by filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato. Bailey and Barbato are also known for “Ru Paul’s Drag Race”, “Hot Property”, “Inside Deep Throat”, “Wishful Thinking” and “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”.

This documentary gives a detailed account of Robert Mapplethorpe’s life and photography. His photography was controversial and provocative - depicting nudity, sexuality, fetishes and yet they were also artistic, precise and unique.

Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato did a good job of bringing Robert Mapplethorpe to life in the documentary by telling his story in a very detailed, intricate and intimate way. The filmmakers achieved this by interviewing close friends and family members who had personal relationships with Mapplethorpe, showcasing his numerous archived photographs and giving a thorough account of different aspects of his life from his childhood to adulthood.  

HBO Documentary, “Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures” is like an intricate quilt connecting all the detailed pieces of Mapplethorpe’s life. It is a very comprehensive and engaging account of his life and photographic work.

Mapplethorpe’s photography ranged from BDSM or bondage, sexuality, portraits (also of celebrities), flowers, female and male nudity, Caucasian and later Black men – all showcasing meticulous precision with his lighting, framing and structure. His life became his art and his art became his life. Being a Scorpio astrologically, might explain Mapplethorpe’s intense interest and engagement in sexuality with his life and photography.

My favorite photograph taken by Mapplethorpe is the penis in a champagne glass which I would describe as decadent!

“Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures” had its recent world premiere at the Sundance Festival. Tune in to watch this HBO documentary Film in April 2016!  






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