Technique: Black-and-white photograph
Dimensions: 40,6 x 50,8 cm.
Es Baluard Museu d'Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma
A studio photographer, and a great perfectionist, throughout his career he developed different genres: the portrait, flowers, sculpture and the nude. As well as his famous self-portraits, friends and celebrities from the world of culture posed for him and in the case of the nudes, people from his most intimate circle also took part as models. One example of personal, mutual understanding in front of the camera is this work belonging to the Es Baluard collection, Jack Walls, taken in 1982.
Jack Walls met Mapplethorpe in 1982, at the age of twenty-three, and they had an amorous relationship plagued with ups and downs. This was not the first time he had portrayed a partner, as he had already done so with Milton Moore, who was also of Afro-American origin (for Mapplethorpe black men were extremely sensual which is why they predominate in his work related to the research he carried out on the body and even in his framings of a more sexual nature). The image, simple in composition and with the face barely intuited in the framing, provides us with a profile view of Walls as a sex object. This piece is thus constituted as an example of how the creator plays the codes of irreverent provocation against classical, customary norms, thanks to the dominion of the formal composition. A pattern he also followed with other well-known works, like the one produced that same year with his friend, body-builder Lisa Lyon, as the subject.