Another Move, Another Home

The good folks at my web hosting service,, have finally gotten around to adding integrated blog options for our websites. So... after a few weeks over at and several years blogging via Google Blogger, I've decided to give this new service a try. The major advantage to this service over, say, Wordpress is that no more advertising will appear. So... check in often and I will try and keep you updated on what's up here in Hawaii as we work to solve the issues of contemporary commercial & editorial photography.

Robert Mapplethorpe - Self Portrait

Last night I watched a deep and fascinating documentary on the life and work of the late Robert Mapplethorpe on HBO, I think. I first became aware of his work in the early 1970's thru the album covers he photographed for music artists like Patti Smith & Joan Armatrading. That led me to his series of flower images, of which I remain in awe of to this day. I knew of his portraits of New York glitterati but somehow managed to miss much of his most controversial and, according to this biography/documentary, his most personally prized work, the homo-erotic images and photographs of male genetalia that created such a stir at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC and in Cincinatti back in the 1980's.

Mapplethorpe's portraits of Patti, a handful of his self-portraits and the flower images still blow me away. The images of genitalia, fetish and BDSM stuff not so much. Yet, this was the work that brought to the forefront of the art world's attention at the time. One take-away from watching this film was that Mapplethorpe's success came from his drive to produce work, shooting feverishly right up until right before his death from the AIDS Virus and also, in no small part, thanks to the patronage of at least one wealthy lover. It was great fun watching as top gallerists, curators and his female assistants spoke about the work, making references to "perfect black penises" (peni?), talking about the self portrait made with the inserted bull-whip. Also fun was seeing friend and noted photographer, art director & design director Lloyd Ziff speaking about Mapplethorpe and showing some of his portraits of Robert & Patti.

After seeing this documentary, I woke this morning completely inspired and energized. For photography enthusiasts & photographers alike, this film is well worth making the effort to see. Check your local cable listings for repeat airings.

Energized and inspired... yet still in a quandary about the work I am selecting for the print portfolio update, now in the final stages of printing. After seeing the film last night, what I really want to include is personal work. That said, I live in Hawaii.... not LA or NYC. Most of my work, which I love to do by the way, is centered around the travel & resort industries. I have no "gallery representation". My instinct tells me to focus on those markets and show the best of my architecture, interior design, food lifestyle & travel images... throwing in some of my favorite personal stuff to finish the thing off. Once the print book is finished, I begin printing a group of print folios as leave behinds for meetings I'm in the process of setting up with art & creative buyers at several top publications and resort headquarters on the East Coast. I leave mid-month for a three week portfolio shlep thru Washington, DC, Baltimore, Md. & NYC.

Private Jet Charter Commissioned by Forbes Life. ©2104 Tony Novak-Clifford

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