The Black Book, with photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe and text by Ntozake Shange, was first published in 1986. It presents 96 formally stringent and highly erotic nudes, all of them photographs of black men, either as full figures, or staged as details, as fragments of their bodies. They are stylized as classical statues or provocatively in all their presence.
Black-and-white photography was Mapplethorpe's preferred medium and his obsessiveness enabled him to visualize any number of tonal gradations and penetrate deep into the very pores of gleaming skin. The Black Book, Mapplethorpe's homage to the black male body, has always been one of the most important visual contributions to the discussion on beauty, sensuality, and sexuality in photography.
- In English and German
- 108 pages, 11 x 11 x 0.5 in.
- 96 duotone plates