What drives an artist to devote a lifetime to a particular medium, technique, subject, or investigation? What are the boundaries between an individual and his or her work? Where does the integrity—the “truth” in an artist’s work—lie? “On Location,” the last issue of Aperture’s fortieth-anniversary year, focuses on the working processes of seven well-established photographers whose remarkable images we have not previously published in depth.
From interviews with Annie Leibovitz at her New York studio, March 31 and April 7, 1993. There is some sort of crisis in my work, a shift in direction. Just a few years back I came to understand that the work couldn’t always be about some assigned subject.
Lorna Simpson’s photographs are documents of and testimonials to real-life situations, told through the use of symbolic figures and allegorical situations in order to create a narrative. Simpson demands active participation from her audience, offering hints of meaning without telling us what to think.
From interviews with Susan Meiselas at her New York studio, March 16 and 27, 1993. I’m in the middle of this book project about the Kurds. In addition to my own photography, my studio is filled with stacks of images made by men and women I’ve never met, most of whom died before I was born.
From interviews with Cindy Sherman at her New York studio, kitchen, and living room, March 18 and April 6, 1993. When I’m cooking, I’m just following a recipe—I’m being told what to do. When I’m working on my photographs I have to make up my own sort of rules.
The industrial-strength metal door opens into a dark, cluttered room, which leads to a larger, windowless warehouse space that is Adam Fuss’s studio. Although his current work involves laying fresh rabbit intestines on photographic paper for extended periods of time, the air reveals nothing other than the smell of photo chemistry.
The theater of grand emotions... requires the great romantic repertory. —Jerzy Grotowski, Founder, Polish Laboratory Theater Two actors; two-score dwarfs; a prefabricated, photosculptured stallion rampant; one-half slaughtered white cow; sundry lunatics and their keepers; a Mercedes-Benz full of French filmmakers; a drum; a yoke of flowers; the mask of a youth; a kingly costume composed in aluminum foil and cardboard; a power stick; a staircase; an abandoned, toiletless factory; a palace modeled on Versailles; sulfur hot-spring baths; three insane asylums.
No other method of printing multiple copies of black-and-white photographs compares in subtlety and richness with photogravure. A continuous-tone process so painstakingly exact and complex as to be arcane, it produces prints unequalled in luminosity and dimensional definition.
We asked Danny Lyon to review Don McCullin’s autobiography, and in the process, a conversation between the two photographers transpired. Unreasonable Behavior: An Autobiography, by Don McCullin. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1992. $24.00.
Arthur Bullowa matured in an era in which it was widely accepted that the early support of visionary work was crucial to cultural evolution. As president of Aperture from 1967 to 1980, he freely imparted his energy, wisdom, and advice. Through his guidance, Aperture developed a carefully focused and businesslike publishing program.
Unless otherwise noted, all photographs are courtesy of, and copyright by, the artists. Cover photograph by Joel-Peter Witkin; p. 8 photograph copyright the estate of Robert Mapplethorpe, courtesy Robert Miller Gallery; pp. 14-15 Polaroid prints by Lorna Simpson, 73½ x 25", courtesy Josh Baer Gallery, New York; p. 16 photograph by Andrew Wilkes;