A very humble man, who does what he does simply because he loves it; Saul Leiter finds beauty in the ordinary. “I never thought of the urban environment as isolating,” he says. “I leave these speculations to others. It’s quite possible that my work represents a search for beauty in the most prosaic and ordinary places. One doesn’t have to be in some faraway dreamland in order to find beauty.” Leiter doesn’t seem to regret having spent years without notoriety and fame, saying “I spent a great deal of my life being ignored. I was always very happy that way. Being ignored is a great privilege.” This anonymity gave him the ability to grow and do the work he wanted to do without the pressure of having to perform or to keep producing. His work became what he wanted it to become.
Mapplethorpe frequently made portraits of children. The offspring of friends and society figures whom he also photographed, Mapplethorpe’s child models appear variously clothed and nude. In two early portraits from 1976 Jesse McBride and Rosie, his young subjects are sympathetically captured in natural, nonstudio environments and in poses that appear relatively spontaneous: five-year-old Jesse is perched nude atop an armchair in his mother’s SoHo apartment, while three-year-old Rosie sits on an ornate garden bench, a propped-up knee inadvertently revealing her lack of underpants. Both children innocently face the camera without being self-conscious about their nudity. Most of Mapplethorpe’s portraits of children were made within the more controlled conditions of the studio, stripped of settings and props and rendered in a rich palette of blacks, white, and grays. Unlike his eroticized male nudes, the photographer’s images of children are never cropped, nor are sections of their body blown up into fetishistic details. Their bodies are aestheticized, but not as sexual beings; rather, in works such as Melia Marden;(1983);Eva Amurri;(1988), they resemble the eternally childish;putti of classical and Renaissance art.
Tulips, Robert Mappplethorpe
While Mr Gruau is best remembered for his womenswear images he was just as talented in the field of men’s style, in which he worked as both an illustrator and a journalist. His style of reporting was almost anthropological, something that was typical at the time; Mr Gruau would cover what he saw stylish men wearing in the best restaurants and the most fashionable holiday resorts, rather than simply reporting what the clothing brands proposed they ought to wear.