(2016) 112 min. HD. Color
Producer: Katharina Otto-Bernstein
Directors: Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato

MAPPLETHORPE: LOOK AT THE PICTURES is the first definitive, feature length portrait of the controversial American artist Robert Mapplethorpe since his death from AIDS in 1989. The only thing more outrageous than Robert Mapplethorpe's photographs was his life. He was obsessed with magic and in particular, with what he saw as the magic of photography and the magic of sex. He pursued both with insatiable dedication. 

“Look at the pictures.” With these words, Senator Jesse Helms denounced the work of Robert Mapplethorpe. Twenty-five years later acclaimed directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato do just that, with unprecedented unlimited access to his archives and work. 

Mapplethorpe may have had hundreds of lovers, but only a few key relationships shaped his life. Almost all are present in the film. Rounding out Mapplethorpe’s intimate portrait are the recollections of his older sister Nancy and youngest brother Edward. An artist and photographer in his own right, Edward Mapplethorpe worked as Robert's assistant for many years and was responsible for much of the technical excellence of the work. 

The most prominent voice in the documentary is Robert Mapplethorpe's own. Thanks to a number of rediscovered, never before heard interviews, he is our narrator. Completely candid and shockingly honest, he speaks about his life, loves and work. Seen through his eyes they were a seamless whole, a complete work of art. His “confessional” is supported by previously unseen, rare archival footage and images, which give a brand new insight into a man, who lived  the same way he took his pictures – black and white.

The result is this unique monograph of Robert Mapplethorpe, who dedicated his life to making photography into a respected, valued and collectable art form in the contemporary art market.  His final show, The Perfect Moment, self-planned as he was dying of AIDS, proved to be a time bomb, igniting a culture war that still reverberates today. And since his death, his foundation, worth hundreds of millions, has made multi-million dollar gifts enabling museums, such as the Guggenheim and the Getty, to set up and maintain photography collections.