Bruce Chatwin was a British writer known for his travel writings such as ‘In Patagonia’ (1977). He collaborated with Mapplethorpe on the book ‘Lady: Lisa Lyon’ (1983), writing an essay for the publication. He was diagnosed with HIV in 1980 and died of an AIDS related illness in 1989, the same year Mapplethorpe himself succumbed to the virus. Chatwin is portrayed in close-up, face-on, looking intensely into the camera. His head and shoulders fill the frame. In this frank, frontal portrait, Mapplethorpe used an entirely dark background to bring Chatwin’s figure to the very fore of the picture plane, a technique that he often employed in his portrait photographs.