History of Photography



Introduction  
History of Photography

A World History of Photography

The Story Behind the Pictures 1827-1991

Photographers' Dictionary









 

 


THE STORY BEHIND THE PICTURES 1827-1991

 

1   Nicephore Niepce. View from the Study Window, 1827

2   Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre. Boulevard du Temple, 1838

3   Eugene Durieu/Eugene Delacroix. Nude from Behind, ca. 1853

4   Duchenne de Boulogne. Contractions musculaires, 1856

5   Auguste Rosalie Bisson. The Ascent of Mont Blanc, 1862

6   Nadar. Sarah Bernhardt, ca. 1864

7   Francois Aubert. Emperor Maximilian's Shirt, 1867

8   Andre Adolphe Eugene Disderi. Dead Communards, 1871

9   Maurice Guibert. Toulouse-Lautrec in His Studio, ca. 1894

10 Max Priester/Willy Wilcke. Bismarck on his Deathbed, 1898

11 Heinrich Zille. The Wood Gatherers, 1898

12 Alfred Stieglitz. The Steerage, 1907

13 Lewis Hine. Girl Worker in a Carolina Cotton Mill, 1908

14 August Sander. Young Farmers, 1914

15 Paul Strand. Blind Woman, 1916

16 Man Ray. Noire et blanche, 1926

17 Andre Kertesz. Meudon, 1928

18 Robert Capa. Spanish Loyalist, 1936

19 Dorothea Lange. Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936

20 Horst P. Horst. Mainbocher Corset, 1939

21 Henri Cartier-Bresson. Germany, 1945

22 Richard Petersen. View from the Dresden City Hall Tower, 1945

23 Robert Doisneau. The Kiss in Front of City Hall, 1950

24 Dennis Stock. James Dean on Times Square, 1955

25 Bert Stern. Marilyn's Last Sitting, 1962

26 Gerard Malanga. Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground, 1966

27 Helmut Newton. They're Coming!, 1981

28 Sandy Skoglund. Revenge of the Goldfish, 1981

29 Robert Mapplethorpe. Lisa Lyon, 1982

30 Joel-Peter Witkin. Un Santo Oscuro, 1987

31 Sebastiao Salgado. Kuwait, 1991

 

see also:

Mapplethorpe Robert




Chapter 28 (part I)

 


1982
 


Mapplethorpe Robert
 

 

Lisa Lyon


Portrait of a Lady
 

The most-talked-about photographer of the 1980s, Robert Mapplethorpe was a belated classicist who understood how to present provocative themes in catchy visual images. After his photographic work with the New York leather scene, male nudes, and erotically-charged flower studies, Mapplethorpe turned his lens on the first female world champion in body-building. The resulting cycle is probably his most comprehensive work, and at the same time constitutes an homage to the new, strong woman, who is aware of her body.

 

The name of the woman is Lyon. Lady Lisa Lyon. The alliteration is no accident. The same holds for the reference - at least phonetically - to the king of the beasts, for this, too, is part of a broader strategy. The young woman has a sense for effective publicity gestures. Furthermore, the physical strength of a wild animal - natural, untamed, and by no means the sole province of the male sex - has in any case always been her ideal. And it has aided her in defending women's body building when she has had to it in the face of a generally skeptical public. As she admits in ig8i in her best-selling Lisa Lyon's Body-Building, she feels like an animal. For her, physical signs of strength, charm, and suppleness do not have to be limited to a single sex. This association only exists in people's limited conception of things.





Robert Mapplethorpe
Lady Lisa Lyon
1982

 

Formerly a rather uptight individual

 

Lisa Lyon is admittedly not the first woman to take pleasure in strikingly well-developed biceps. In her book, she reminisces about the Viennese strong-woman Caterina Baumann, one of the greatest athletes in history, who was able to lift ten times her own weight in the 1920s. But it was Lisa Lyon who brought the discipline out of the ghetto of the circus, removed it from its historical niche in bourgeois reform movements, and declared it to be a matter of course in the life of the 'new woman'. Her timing was unquestionably right. The Utopian ideals of the 1960s were now history; the 1970s were nearing their end, and values were once again undergoing a turnover. It was a good moment to introduce a fresh concept: that of a new, physically conscious, and above all physically powerful woman, and to integrate this ideal into the developing consciousness of the 1980s. In this sense, Lisa Lyon is unmistakably a child of the Reagan era, even if at first glance her entry, armed with dumbbells, seems not precisely to coincide with the ultraconservative spirit of the times. But in the struggle for wealth and success, in the glorification of power and the fetishism of material happiness (it's no accident that Dallas and Denver Clan are ruling the air-waves at this time), there was a meeting of the minds. As part of her fitness program, Lisa Lyon recommends zero tolerance towards what she designates as losers. As cynical as it may sound, the advice corresponded fairly well to the political climate of the day. Lisa Lyon is dressed in mourning. But that doesn't signify anything - except that the creator of the picture, Robert Mapplethorpe, had been raised a Catholic and throughout his life retained an affinity with everything smacking of Catholicism. Robert Mapplethorpe is also obsessed with sex - a combination which may appear to be a self-contradiction, but on the other hand, explains his approach to his own homosexuality: an unusually long road marked by repression and denial. To claim that precisely the artist who had made homosexuality the theme of his photography at the end of the 1970s had once been a rather uptight individual is therefore not far from the truth. But Mapplethorpe, who had so many problems with his own coming-out, discovered in photography a medium for self-exploration - and applied it excessively. The cold smoothness of his emphatically formalistic photography, so well-schooled in principles of design, has made it easy to overlook this exploratory aspect of his work. His pictures give the impression of being finished pieces, at least at first glance. But they are just the opposite. His work abounds in contradictions - along with a good shot of irony - all of which indicate that his creations are in fact children of Postmodernism. Lisa Lyon, 1982. What do we see here? A young woman, perhaps in her early twenties. One could call it a profile portrait - to be more exact, a half-length portrait - but with this difference: the side-view is rather unusual within the genre of portrait photography. A traditional professional photographer would invariably choose the more flattering half- or quarter-profile, all the while giving the subject precise instructions on the direction in which to turn their gaze - above all, course, to look past the camera. But our young woman is standing or sitting with an admirably erect posture, looking straight ahead. One is almost reminded of the pho-tographs of criminals systematically taken by the French photographer Alphonse Bertillon around 1890: his strategy for identification rested on only two exposures, one of which was precisely this 'hard' profile. The dark veil with its suggestion of sorrow, however, provides an ironic com-ment on this association. What we can make out under the veil is correspondingly little. For example, that the subject has carefully painted lips, and seems to be waiting without expression for whatever might come her way. That she is looking straight ahead, we have already noted - but is this really true? Hasn't she in fact closed her eyes? The veil obscures her gaze and, together with the elegant hat decorated with artificial flowers, stands in clear contradiction to the erotic appeal of the gleaming black bustier. The picture, one might say, splits into a 'serious' upper half and a less 'serious' lower half. It is the combination of the two that gives the scene its fascination. In addition, what the observer will certainly notice first and then give more attention to: the steely upper arm with its large number of unretouched moles - certainly a contradiction to the ideal of the self-confidently presented, beautifully formed body? Or can it be that these 'impurities' not only belong to the iconography of the image, but also to the ideology of a new ideal of beauty?








 

Robert Mapplethorpe
Lady Lisa Lyon

 

Someone from a different planet





Cover and double-page spreads from Lady Lisa Lyon: the original edition of the book was published Tg8j by The Viking Press, New York

Depending on the version one follows, they met for the first time in 1979 or 1980 at a party in Soho. Lyon was wearing a leather jacket and black rubber pants, an outfit that Mapplethorpe, with his unwavering interest in bizarre eroticism, could not help but notice. "Mapplethorpe," according to his biographer Patricia Morrisroe, invited her to Bond Street the following afternoon for a photo session, and she appeared at his door in a miniskirt, thigh-high leather boots, and a wide-brimmed hat decorated with feathers. He immediately responded to what was then an exotic notion - a muscle-packed woman - by photographing her in the frilly hat, flexing her biceps. Never before, as Morrisroe relates, had he seen such a woman: "It was like looking at someone from another planet." Robert Mapplethorpe was thirty years old at the time - not yet a star, but well on his way to becoming the most internationally known photographer of the 1980s. Born in Queens, New York, in 1946, he had, so to speak, photographed his way out of his petty bourgeois background and over the rim of the New York subculture, all the way to the top - an amazing trajectory that is only partially explained by the active support of his influential friend Sam Wagstaff. With his simple but elegant, classically oriented interpretation of the "unspeakable", Mapplethorpe had touched the nerve of the age - an era in which the emancipation of homosexuals had already advanced considerably, without the increased gay self-confidence having yet developed an appropriate aesthetic of its own. Precisely herein lies the importance, and moreover the achievement, of Robert Mapplethorpe. Certainly, there had been photographers with homosexual interests earlier; one needs only to recall Fred Holland Day, Thomas Eakins, or George Platt Lynes. Or the illustrations of Tom of Finland might be considered here. But what these artists had created under cover, or at best in the context of the subculture, Robert Mapplethorpe made palatable, consumable, for wider circles, and thus moved the theme into the mainstream of art. But the protection provided by the success of his work fostered more that a broader recognition of gay eroticism. The move in the understanding of photography in the 1980s from merely a technical picture-producing medium to an art form with a place in the museums is very largely thanks to Robert Mapplethorpe. The only other artist to achieve such a strong and international reception was Mapplethorpe's original model, Andy Warhol.







Robert Mapplethorpe
Lisa Lyon with snake
1982


 

 

An androgynous manifestation with unkempt hair and a man's shirt

 

To the same extent that Mapplethorpe defined a new image of the male, who was now allowed to be black and horny, strong and beautiful, physically conscious of his body, sexy, and capable of taking pleasure in him-self, he also participated in the transformation of the contemporary image of woman. The artist's black-and-white portraits of the Rock poet Patti Smith, whom Mappelthorpe had lived with for an extended period at the beginning of his artistic career, provide an example. Smith's pale, elf-like being flew in the face of all standard ideals of beauty, extending from Veruschka to Raquel Welch. Mapplethorpe took numerous photographs of Smith, the most famous probably being an androgynous manifestation with unkempt hair, a white man's shirt, and tie. The record company is said to have repeatedly refused to use the photograph on the cover of Patti Smith's first record, Horses. Years later, when the music magazine Rolling Stone made a list of the 100 best covers of all time, Horses was number twenty-six on the list.

Mapplethorpe's liaison with Patti Smith had already come to an end when he met Lisa Lyon in 1979/80. For the photographer it was, so to speak, like the continuance of a fascination by other means. Where Patti Smith clearly represented the ideals of the 60s generation in her life and art, Lisa Lyon was an unmistakable product of the 1980s: ambitious, success-oriented, goal-directed and, last but not least, clever in a very pragmatic way. While still at university, the five-foot-three young woman - not precisely tall - had become acquainted with kendo, the traditional Japanese martial art. She enjoyed discovering what her body could do, testing it to its very limits, and eventually joined Cold's Gym in Los Angeles, the center of body-building in the USA - initially, in must be said, with the opposition of her male environment. Hormonal differences, so it was then assumed, would prevent a woman from developing her muscles. Furthermore, Lyon faced doubts about her perseverance. But inspired by her great example Arnold Schwarzenegger, and guided by well-known bodybuilders like Franco Colombo or Robbie Robinson, she threw herself into training, "rigorously counting bicep curls and leg lifts" (Morrisroe). In the evening, she trained at home in her apartment - taking, instead of steroids, LSD in order to "reprogram her cellular structure". !n 1979, in the virtual absence of competition, Lisa Lyon won the first world championship in women's body-building; the following year, she did not even bother to enter. From this perspective, she had a short but effective career. Even before the sport had been properly born, Caine and Butler claim in their 'bible' of heavy athletics, Lisa Lyon was not only the leading protagonist for female body-building, but also its media star, making numerous appearances on television and radio, and presciently extolling the virtues of (strong) girl-power.






Robert Mapplethorpe
Lisa Lyon
1981

 

Homage to the erotic force of the human body

 

For Robert Mapplethorpe, Lisa Lyon offered a welcome opportunity to at least balance out his image as a gay or sadomasochistic photographer. He took the first pictures in his loft at 24 Bond Street, with others to follow in an unnamed fitness studio and outdoors under the Californian sun. It is probably fitting that the Lisa Lyon cycle is considered the most comprehensive of all Mapplethorpe's works. Just how many exposures were made between 1980 and 1982 we do not know; in any case, 117 black-and-white, largely square, pictures found their way into the first volume of Lady Lisa Lyon, published in 1983. Some of the images are obviously drawn from the fashion photography of Horst P. Horst, others refer to the Art Deco pictorial language of Hoyningen-Huene. Borrowings are also recognizable from Weston's dune nudes as well as the early photography of the nudity movement. Mapplethorpe likes to quote. In return, his pictorial style had an influence on photodesign and on the advertising of the 1980s. Contemporary art criticism, however, looks at his work rather critically. Ulf Erdmann Ziegler speaks of "technoid pomp," A. D. Coleman of "warmed-over pictorialism." However it may be, Mapplethorpe's work remains an expression of its time. In retrospect, his pictorial homage to the erotic force of the human/male body seems almost like a futile protest against the latter-day plague that in the end also claimed his life. Robert Mapplethorpe died of AIDS early in 1989. By then, Lisa Lyon had already long since fallen back into anonymity. Their meeting was short, but powerful - and not without results for our understanding of the being and appearance of the modern woman.

 


Lisa Lyon
is a female bodybuilder from the United States. Her stats as taken on October 1980: She stands at 5'3" and weighs only 105 pounds, but she can dead-lift 225 pounds, bench-press 120 pounds, and squat 265 pounds; two and a half times her own weight.
Born in Los Angeles, California in 1953, Lisa Lyon is regarded as one of female bodybuilding's pioneers. She studied art at the University of California at Los Angeles, and became accomplished in kendo, the Japanese art of fencing. She began weight training to build more upper body strength for kendo. Lyon entered and won the first IFBB Women’s World Pro Bodybuilding Championship in Los Angeles on June 16, 1979. This was the only bodybuilding competition of her career. Nevertheless, she became a media sensation, appearing in many magazines and on television talk shows. She also wrote a book on weight training for women titled Lisa Lyon’s Body Magic (ISBN 0-553-01296-7), which was published in 1981.
Lyon became the first female bodybuilder to appear in Playboy in October, 1980. She was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame in 2000.
Lyon played Cimmaron in Vamp, a low-budget 1986 film starring Grace Jones. Lyon modeled for American fine art photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, resulting in the 1983 book Lady: Lisa Lyon (ISBN 0-312-05290-1).













Robert Mapplethorpe
Lisa Lyon
198
0-1982

 

 

 






Robert Mapplethorpe
Lisa with Scorpion
198
1-1983

 

 


Robert Mapplethorpe

(b New York, 4 Nov 1946; d Boston, 9 March 1989).

American photographer, sculptor and collagist. In the early 1970s, after studying at the Pratt Institute of Art in Brooklyn (1963–70), he produced a number of assemblages and collages from magazine photographs often altered by spray painting. In one such work, Julius of California (1971; Charles Cowles priv. col.), he drew a circle around the male figure’s genitals as a subversion of the usual practice of censorship. He soon began to take his own black-and-white photographs with a Polaroid camera, incorporating them into collages (e.g. Self-portrait, 1971; Charles Cowles priv. col.,) or arranging them in sequences, as in Patti Smith (Don’t Touch here) (1973; artist’s col.), a portrait of the poet and singer who was one of his favourite models. Within a year of showing his Polaroids in his first one-man show (New York, Light Gal., 1973) he began to use a large format press camera, followed soon afterwards by a Hasselblad. As his interest in photography increased, so he looked more closely for guidance to such earlier photographers as Nadar, Julia Margaret Cameron and F. Holland Day. His photographs of the later 1970s include a number of homo-erotic, sado-masochistic images, such as Helmut (1978). Here, as in other works, the presentation of a carefully posed figure against a plain paper or cloth backdrop creates a strong formal structure in counterpoint to the shock value and intensity of the subject-matter. This formal emphasis is even more apparent in the flower and still-life works, such as Pan Head and Flower (1976; Holly Solomon priv. col.).

Self-Portrait
1980

 


Self-Portrait, 1988

 


Joe
1978

 


Brian Ridley and Lyle Heeter
1979

 


Self-Portrait
1986

 


Lindsay Key, 1985

 


Calla Lily, 1986

 


Ajitto
1981

 


Apollo
1988

 


Derrick Cross
1982

 


Charles
1985

 


Ken Moody
1983

 


Leatherman II
1970

 


Patti Smith (Horses)
1975

 


Orchid and Leaf in White Vase
1982

 


Calla Lily
1984


Tim Scott
1980

 


Keith Haring
1984

 


Waves
1980

 


Roses
1986

 


Self Portrait
1983

 


Calla lily
1986

 


Flower arrangement
1980

 


Desmond
1983

 


Thomas
1986


Mum
1989

 


Orchids
1980

 


Selfportrait
1981

 


Gun Blast
1985

 


Ed Ruscha
1984

 


Patti Smith
1978

 


Cindy Sherman
1983

 


Lily
1979

 


Patti Smith
1987

 


Alice Neel
1984

 


Andy Warhol
1986

 


Leon Golub
1986

 


Francesco Clemente
1982

 


Ron Simms
1980

 


George Bussey
1986

 


Ken Moody
1984

 


William Burroughs
1980

 


Sam Wagstaff
1979

 


Lucinda Childs
1977

 


Louise Nevelson
1986

 


Self Portrait
1980

 


Self Portrait
1985

 
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