Eugène Atget was a poor man with a battered old camera who went out early, when no one was on the streets, to photograph a vanishing civilization. He referred to his photographs as "documents pour artistes"; made, apparently, no great claims for them; and lived in a kind of obscurity that has left much of his life a mystery.
After a recent lecture by Louis Faurer at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, a student told him, "You can't take pictures of people anymore." Repeating the story, Faurer says he interpreted this remark as a warning that New York's streets have become too dangerous, and he says he took it to heart.
Eighty-eight-year-old P. J. Cherian, a Saint Thomas Christian and a photographer in Cochin, sat royally. He held his chin aloft, grasped his black umbrella with interlaced fingers and steadied it between his legs. We were looking at some one-hundred-year-old photographs I had brought with me to Cochin, in southwest India.
Photography has become rather fancy in the past decade. I have tried, in a certain way, to impose limits upon it and myself. I use the same Nikon F 50-mm. camera that was given to me in 1964, when I first began to photograph. I photograph mostly people I know and cherish, who all live within walking or cycling distance from my home in Victoria, British Columbia.
Memories of Iran and recent camera images pile on top of one another like a palimpsest: the Cubist-angled streets between mud walls, women veiled in chedurs riding Vespas at breakneck speed, ladened burros with slit nostrils vying with Mercedes limousines for road space, vendors of sheep's eyes and roasting beets, purple bathing scarves drying above bathhouses, the ringworm scars on the scalps of school children — a mixture of modern plastic and ancient bone.
PICTURES TAKEN NEAR THE ROCKY FLATS NUCLEAR WEAPONS PLANT
American nuclear and thermonuclear bombs are equipped with plutonium detonators manufactured at the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant. The factory is located ten miles upwind from Denver, Colorado. Plutonium, which is among the most toxic known elements, ignites spontaneously in contact with moist air; there have been more than two hundred fires at the plant, many of them involving plutonium.
Mario Giacomelli has been making photographs of the Italian countryside since 1954. The photographs on these pages, from the series Paesaggio, were made from 1955 to 1977. To create his landscapes, Giacomelli manipulates the subject and employs special techniques to produce a graphic image.
Robert Adams Photographer and writer Robert Adams is a frequent contributor to Aperture. A resident of Longmont, Colorado, he not only photographs the landscape but ardently works to conserve it. Among his books of photographs are From the Missouri West (Aperture, 1980).