THIS ISSUE OF APERTURE ADDRESSES the process of recording conflict. It is not concerned with the photography of war or the struggle of armed combatants. It reflects a historical pattern from the turning point of modern European history in the streets of Prague in 1968 to the continuing American military as well as cultural presence in Japan.
Born Gyula Halasz, Hungarian photographer BrassaÏ illuminated the Parisian nightlife of the thirties and legitimized the subject of the demimonde, now so inextricable from the milieu of street photographers. His portraits of street walkers, showpeople, prostitutes, gamblers, and other habitueés of Paris's darkness, as well as his studies of the eminent artists of the day—Picasso, Matisse, and Dali, to name a few—amount to an alluring social document.
Gilbert and George's multiple photopanels dominated the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, in 1981 with a religious solemnity. The panels glowed with red and gold against the white walls like windows in the chapel of a fictitious hybrid cult, a temple of latter-day sinners.
TO ALL CITIZENS OF THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA: Yesterday, August 20, 1968, at about 23:00 hours, troops of the USSR, the Popular Republic of Poland, the German Democratic Republic, the Hungarian Democratic Republic, and the Popular Republic of Bulgaria crossed the borders of the State of the Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia.
There is something fascinating about photographing major conflicts. One goes to war but does not kill. One takes chances and is brave. Armed only with a brace of cameras and with canisters of film, one enters the exploding violence in order to witness it and report back.
Ireland has a history a thousand years old and yet it is an intimate history. People tell it that way, remembrances tangled and matted with emotion: scenes of life, comic, grotesque, tragic, crowded with violent feelings of love, despair, happiness, anger, boredom.
I went to Beirut for the first time in 1965 in transit to Gaza. There was occasion, after that time, to stop in Beirut en route to Vietnam. Most of the people I knew thought it was a great fun place, but I thought it was rather decadent and bourgeois.
The Japanese surrender in 1945 was the nation's first experience of defeat in any war. The occupation of Japan by the allied forces was an unprecedented experience. After August 1945 General MacArthur and his occupying forces went to every corner of my country.
Mark Holborn Born in 1949 in England, Mark Holborn was educated in Russian studies. His book on Japanese landscape, The Ocean in the Sand, was published in London in 1978. Formerly editor at Creative Camera magazine in London, he is now special-projects editor at Aperture.