Robert Mapplethorpe was an American counter-culture artist who blazed a taboo-busting trail across the 1960s, 70s and 80s. He worked mainly in black and white photography, addressing themes of sexual behaviour, homosexuality, erotica and sadomasochism. His images were mostly portraits, including nudes, self-portraits and noted artists such as Andy Warhol and Joan Armatrading. As a gay man, his work was often homo erotic. He also depicted people engaged in sexual acts including BDSM, which was very controversial at the time. Despite this, Mapplethorpe’s intention wasn’t purely to shock. He wanted to cast light on the unseen undercurrents of human behaviour and on those who were often kept out of public view.