Online caption

Mapplethorpe portrays himself as the archetypal bad boy, with black leather jacket, dark shirt, cigarette hanging out of the corner of his mouth, the coolly appraising gaze and the carefully coiffed 1950s-style hair. Mapplethorpe was keen to promote this image of himself as cool and impervious to emotion. The composition helps to underscore this. The pose is wholly frontal and composed so that his mouth lies at the very centre of the photograph.