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Getting Your Technique Down

New York man Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) wanted to do one thing with his life: to live for art. During his teens and early twenties, he experimented with drawing, painting and sculpture. Then, in 1970 a friend gave Robert a loan of a 360 Land camera, a clunky but technically simple, silver and black device. Robert settled on the camera as his creative tool of expression because “it was more honest.” At first, Robert restricted himself to only taking pictures of his former -girlfriend and life-long creative partner the singer Patti Smith. The confines of a single muse shaped his creative vision and enabled him to hone his technique. In Just Kids, Patti writes: “He was comfortable with me and he needed time to get his technique down. The mechanics of the camera were simple, but the options were limited.”