This photograph is from a series of images of black men in which Mapplethorpe celebrated the sculptural beauty of the human form. It was published in Mapplethorpe’s ‘The Black Book’ in 1986. In ‘Bob Love’ the naked sitter is posed like a sculpture on a pedestal draped with a twisted white sheet, his legs spread, in a candid and frontal study of the male form. The artist’s fascination with classical and antique sculpture is evident in his use of light and shadow to create a sense of three-dimensionality in these works. In his photographs of black male nudes Mapplethorpe confronted questions of racial stereotypes and his images have been critiqued for their emphasis on muscular, sculpted physiques.