Sylvia Wolf was curator of photography at the Whitney Museum of American Art when she discovered a trove of unknown Polaroids by Robert Mapplethorpe in a back room at his foundation. The artist, who died in 1989, only shot Polaroids for a few short years before moving on to his better-known, tighter, neoclassical style.

Now, almost a hundred of the Polaroids Wolf found are the subject of a breathtaking, tender, revealing exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle—having already visited the Whitney and museums in Chicago and the UK.

This conversation with Wolf is the story of how they—and Mapplethorpe—came out.

Click here to listen.