Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) received a B.F.A. from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and took his first photographs using a Polaroid camera. In the mid-seventies, using a large format press camera, he began taking photographs of his friends and acquaintances – artists, composers, socialites and other members of the New York Underground. During the early 1980s, Mapplethorpe’s photographs began a shift toward a phase of refinement of subjects and an emphasis on classical formal beauty. He concentrated on delicate flower still lifes – orchids, tulips, lilies – statuesque nudes and formal portraits.