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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perpetual Spring Provides Creative Inspiration!
This book deserves more than five stars. It is the finest set of flower photography that I have seen before, and presents more dimensions of what a flower can mean that I would have thought possible.
I took a course of creativity from author Dan Wakefield a number of years ago. One of the many excellent exercises we did was to take a flower and write as much as we...
Published on April 14, 2001 by Donald Mitchell

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mapplethorpe's Flowers "Pocket Guide"
Ordered this "book", and when it came in, realized I had not read the small print, this "book" is 4" x 4". Did one of the reviewers call this a coffee table book??? Superb images, just make sure you leave the magnifying glass nearby...
Published on October 11, 2011 by podunko


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perpetual Spring Provides Creative Inspiration!, April 14, 2001
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Flowers (Paperback)
This book deserves more than five stars. It is the finest set of flower photography that I have seen before, and presents more dimensions of what a flower can mean that I would have thought possible.
I took a course of creativity from author Dan Wakefield a number of years ago. One of the many excellent exercises we did was to take a flower and write as much as we could about what we observed during an hour. At the end of the time, I was bursting with new ideas for all kinds of things. Try it sometime!
Seeing this marvelous book by Robert Mapplethorpe (that would earn a G rating if it were a motion picture) reminded me of that exercise. I had the same feeling as I examined each image, and had a great desire to start taking notes.
The essay, A Final Flower, by Patti Smith helps put these great works in perspective. Mr. Mapplethorpe found it "as easy to hurl beauty as anything else." "He came, in time, to embrace the flower as the embodiment of all the contradictions reveling within [him]." He was inspired by "their sleekness, their fullness, Humble narcissus, Passionate zen." As such, he found flowers to be "worthy conspirators in the courting and development of conflicting emotions."
The images themselves evoke more complicated views than any others of flowers that I have seen. The closest to his style is that which Georgia O'Keeffe used in her painings. But there are more dimensions to these photographs.
For example, a single flower may evoke a part of a human body, but it will also stimulate an impression of a human emotion contained in the flower image separate from the body part. Further, the shadowed background behind the flower will add movement and context that greatly expand the meaning of the overall image. Mr. Mapplethorpe also displays a genius for using varieties of color together to express complicated rhythms that make looking at the images a lot like listening to a drum beating a distinctive tattoo. He also employs juxtaposition (to make one thing appear to be part of something else), allusions to emerging and receding, and contrasts to great effect.
The technical quality of the images is superb. The lighting, detail, and composition of each image are precisely as must have been intended. Each image is an exquisite gem. Although I liked all of the images, some appealed to me more than others. Here are my favorites:
Irises, 1988; Rose, 1989; Orchid, 1977; White Longstem Flower, 1982; Orchids, 1982; Orchid, 1986; Flowers in a Vase, 1985; Orchids, 1987; and Poppy, 1988 (second one). I would like to specially praise the astonishing Calla Lilies (1985-1988) for their amazing beauty and inspiring qualities.
Where else can something simple display so much important meaning and complexity about nature and the viewer? I suggest that you consider looking at leaves, rocks, and feathers as possible additional sources of inspiration. Try your hand at arranging tableaux that use the vocabulary of Mr. Mapplethorpe's work here.
May your heart and mind be suffused with the wonders around you . . . creating a meditation inspired by nature!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, February 3, 2002
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This review is from: Flowers (Paperback)
Unbelivable intensity out of such simplicity. Here is Mapplethorpe's ultimate genius, astoundingly powerful from such simple set-ups. The colour, composition, lighting, choice of vases and flowers: All the basics but brilliantly done.
I saw Mapplethorpe's famous exhibition in Philadelphia just before he died,the exhibit that was banned at the Corcoran in D.C., then siezed for a while in Cincinnati. The flower photographs were dye-transfer prints, which made the colour surprisingly intense; some were almost 3' tall. People would stand for a long time in front of those, enraptured, sensing the work on several different levels at once. This book does a good job of bringing that to you. You can look at this book over and over again, put in on a coffe table to start converstaions or, after having not seen it for a while, rediscover it to be awed and inspired anew once again.
The edition I have is a 1990 paperback 12" in height; the pictures are presented one to a spread, so that there is a blank white page accross from the flower, which is a very classy touch, completely the correct way to do it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flowers as themselves and other worldly things, July 12, 2000
This review is from: Flowers (Paperback)
This is a book of pictures that are technically breathtaking as photographs and emotionally moving as pictures. The images evoke deep feelings but whether the artist's feelings in making them are the same as mine in viewing them, I cannot tell. They are far too subtle for that.
These are photographs of flowers. As photographs, they are amazing. But the real worth of the collection is that the pictures he created are of other worldly things.
I have lots of books of photographs and of paintings, too. I have none that I think exceeds Mapplethorpe's achievements here.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite the best available, February 6, 2004
By 
L. Moniz (Haverhill, MA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Flowers (Paperback)
While the photos are stunning, the presentation is a little rough. While most photos are presented with a blank page opposite there are a few photos that face other photos. This is a little jarring but worse is the two photos that are printed across the facing page. The spine break really detracts from a pair of beautiful photos.
Mapplethorpe was a genius with a camera and this book gives us many reminders of his skill. The publisher, however, lacks the artistic eye that would have prevented the distractions of a few photos that are damaged or badly placed by the layout. Minus a star because it could have been layed out better
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, uncluttered, stunningly beautiful photographs., April 20, 1999
By 
Tom Rose (Utrecht, Netherland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Flowers (Paperback)
Mapplethorpe is notorious for his explicit images of nudity and homosexuality, but in this wonderful set of photographs he reveals the true breadth of his talent and gives us a book that can be safely left on the coffee table no matter who is visiting. Each full page photograph is a beautiully composed study of flower, receptacle, and background. There is only one word to describe the quality of light, the balance and contrast of colours, shapes, textures, and the technical proficiency with which they are captured ... Perfect. Buy it!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars closer look at form of flowers by proxy, April 13, 2000
This review is from: Flowers (Paperback)
I have been an admirer of Mapplethorpe's work since the beginning. I first became interested when I felt a connection between his and Irving Penn's pictures. My own work has been enormously influenced by both these photographer's technique and I will always bow to their depiction of seemingly ordinary subjects as much more than they appear at first glance. Often we lose the inclination to really look and Mapplethorpe, at his best, encouraged and sometimes, gently forced us to do that. These photos are sensuous and very beautiful.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mapplethorpe's Flowers "Pocket Guide", October 11, 2011
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This review is from: Flowers (Paperback)
Ordered this "book", and when it came in, realized I had not read the small print, this "book" is 4" x 4". Did one of the reviewers call this a coffee table book??? Superb images, just make sure you leave the magnifying glass nearby...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars just plain beautiful, May 15, 2002
By 
Pam Albert (Maine, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Flowers (Paperback)
Even though Mapplethorpe is better known for his controversial black and white nude photos, this book demonstrates his careful delicacy with not only the flowers but also the controlled lighting and the subtle colors. I have loved this book since the first time I leafed through it in studio photo class.
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5.0 out of 5 stars First edition -used book, April 4, 2014
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This review is from: Flowers (Hardcover)
This is a near-perfect first edition I bought "used"...it has a dedication in the front, but otherwise is in excellent condition. Into. by Patti Smith from 1990.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Photographs Beyond Words, April 10, 2005
This review is from: Flowers (Paperback)
This collection of color photographs of flowers by Robert Mapplethorpe is stunning beyond words. Just when you thought that nothing else could be done with the overdone photographing of Calla Lilies, Mapplethorpe graces this book with eleven new shots of them, along with Orchids, Tulips, Poppies and a Rose or two. It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Mapplethorpe's work that some of these magnificent color shots are quite phallic in nature.

It is appropriate that the artist selected flowers for some of his last work since he like flowers was here for such a short time. (It is futile to speculate as to how many beautiful books he would have published by now had he lived.)

A short but moving introduction is included by his friend Patti Smith: She ends her comments with lines:

"A flower that grew from years of flowers./By one who caused a modern shudder/and was favored by his mother./It is the wall that conceals all the tears of a relatively young man/with nothing but glory in his grasp and what he would be/grasping is the hand of God drawing him into another garden."

For those who will never afford a Mapplethorpe, this book is a beautiful substitute.
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Flowers
Flowers by Robert Mapplethorpe (Paperback - November 1, 1994)
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