black white + gray.
by James Crump.

I was trolling around Netflix looking for something to watch when I found this movie, "Black White + Gray". A documentary about Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe, the artists and lovers that they were. Along with singer and poet Patti Smith, the third player of their team. Hearing stories about Sam and later Robert really intrigued me about their New York lives and their relationship till the end of Wagstaff's life. Sam, art collector, photographer, and sugar daddy. Living at the top of the penthouse at One 5th Avenue with only photographs as furniture, he was dark and perverted and really interesting to me.

The film showed a lot of photographs he took which were quite inspiring and frightening. He was hooked on drugs and sex and was said to turn into a different disturbing person when he was abusing drugs.
As for Robert he was only 26 when he met Sam at 51 and learned everything from him as well as getting an apartment and sharing the exciting life of New York in the 1970's. His career took off leaving Sam's career behind. Sam died of AIDS leaving Robert with millions of dollars in art and photographs.

OK now that I gave you my synopsis I will be giving you my whole thought on this film.

It was great, which is a shitty way of starting that but it was. Wagstaff is perverted and scary but really intriguing to me, especially how he spoke about getting lost in the photos. He was very fine tuned when it came to color, he said that one black in his friend's photo was blacker than the rest, that you can stare into that particular black for a life time.
A lot of his photographs are about sexuality and are obscene to most but they don't really offend me because I can see beyond the overall picture and look into the details and emotions that he has captured. Although I left most of those out of this post, they are very fascinating and I recommend you to look at them. He really knew how to grasp the concept of pleasure in photography. Even though had an a fuck off attitude he could capture the essence of the photograph's nature whether it was serene or horrific.
He inspires me to pick up the camera again now that I have a clearer answer of what power photographer's possess.

Photographs by Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe.