Online caption

If it were not for the title, it would be difficult to work out what is going on in this photograph. The use of close-ups that defamiliarise us with the body, as well as the photographing of sado-masochistic fetishes and clothes had been part of the surrealist photographers’ practice. The collar around the figure’s neck and the leather cuffs just visible, allude to the S&M scene of the 1970s that Mapplethorpe was involved in. The clothes-pegs in this photograph are reminiscent of the Crown of Thorns. Mapplethorpe’s strict Catholic upbringing made itself felt in many of his works.