Black and white photography
He focussed on photographs of artists, musicians, pornographic film stars, and other members of the edgy New York underground scene. His photography included celebrity portraits, male and female nudes, still-life, and controversial works which documented and examined New York's gay male BDSM subculture in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Mapplethorpes work can be found in the collections of major museums around the world. He established the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation in 1988, shortly before he died, in part to promote photography and to support museums that exhibit photographic art.