Some Women by Robert Mapplethorpe
“If Robert Mapplethorpe’s “subjects” here are women, what then is his subject?” inquires writer Joan Didion, in the foreword of Some Women (1989), a retrospective collection of 86 portraits, nudes and fashion shots, of some of this century’s most iconic women – Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Grace Jones, Isabella Rossellini, Brooke Shields, to name a few. For a photographer canonized for his sexually charged male nudes and images of sadomasochism, Some Women, then not only presents itself as an elegant and unanticipated homage to female beauty, but equally as a revelatory testament to Mapplethorpe’s gift as a portraitist, his mastery of black-and-white and his propensity towards classical forms. As Didion herself concludes, “His subject is the same as it was when his “subjects” were the men in leather, or the flowers, or the Coral Sea on a low horizon. This is the voice of someone whose subject was finally that very symmetry with which he himself had arranged things”.