The work presented in Aperture's third “On Location” issue reveals that we live in a constant state of transformation, that the naming of things does not make them any more tangible, that the “decisive moment” is over before it begins, and that the “fixative” nature of photography makes it marvelously complicit in its paradoxical relationship with the world.
MELISSA HARRIS: You seem to play with inversions in your work, between mass and void, positive and negative space. Is the negative space as present, as real as the positive space, or is the positive space as illusory as the negative space? LYNN DAVIS: Many years ago, when I started doing the nudes, I noticed that I seemed to find the perfect picture for myself when I would form the subject, and then look at it, and the positive would disappear.
Doug and Mike Starn are not sun worshipers, they say, although their recent work might indicate otherwise. Like those suicidal summertime moths you find on their nightly pilgrimage toward the filament of the porch lamp, the brothers are headed inexorably toward the solar core.
I was five years old when the country was partitioned, says Raghu Rai. That makes him about fifty-five, because it's nearly half a cen tury since that happened, that and Independence. Fifty years of freedom, with the evil frisson of genocide thrown in-it's a nat ural for the color pages, and every editor in India wants a piece of this anniversary.
The ideas of memory and flight have, for me, become metaphors for evoking the current transformation of Russia. This transition period, whose resolution cannot be foreseen, has overturned all widely held clichés about the country. It is not only the end of a political regime and its ideology, but also a general destabilization—without exception—of all generations, their everyday lives, values, and souls.
MELISSA HARRIS: Children and teenagers comprise a large part of your work. What is it about them that you find so compelling? MARY ELLEN MARK: In my pictures I like to get a sense of oddness or edginess. I think that children and teenagers are much more about that.
The telephone seems to bring out the antic side of Duane Michals. Once, during a drawn-out game of phone tag, he called me from the New York Public Library. "It's Uncle Duane ... the sands of time are disappearing ... call me..." I called him back the next day and the message said he had left the city for a week.
The color night work is new, but in a way Misrach is returning full circle to the 1970s, when he also photographed the night— minimal, moody black-and-white squares, alive with motion. Now, it’s all that again: no horizon to anchor the viewer, just the gyration of heavenly bodies, their exuberant cartwheels into the dark.
Photographs terrify me. They are, if I may coin a phrase, light-mares. By which I mean that they illuminate what is already visible to me and, in that same instant, turn my eyes into sockets. They terrify me the same way in which the stuffed head of a lion or a tiger on a wall terrifies me.
"William Morris" exhibition, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Summer 1996 The great Victorian designer William Morris was best known in his own time as the poet who wrote The Earthly Paradise. When he died in 1896, Morris was described by a satirical magazine as "the earthly paradox."
WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS AT THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART: PARIAH OR POPE?
"Ports of Entry" traveling exhibition, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, Summer 1996 In terms of the gallery space allotted to "Ports of Entry: William S. Burroughs and the Arts," this exhibit is modest. In terms of mental space, I have rarely seen a more ambitious show.
VICTOR ANANT has written about India as a foreign correspondent for British newspapers for many years. His varied, wide-traveling journalistic career has included working for The Daily Telegraph, Guardian, UNESCO (in Africa), and the International Press Institute as an editorial consultant throughout Asia.
PHOTOGRAPHS: Unless otherwise noted, all photographs are courtesy of, and copyright by, the artists: pp. 2-3: Lynn Davis, Palmyra, Syria, 1995, photograph by Roberta Nieman; Doug and Mike Starn, 1996; Raghu Rai photograph by Gurinder Oswan; Lise Sarfati with Aza in Plochade, Moscow, ca. 1995; Mary Ellen Mark and Jesse Damm, 1994, photograph by Grant Delin; Duane Michals, 1995; Richard Misrach atop Lone Rock I, Bravo 20 Bombing Range, November 6, 1986, photograph by Dr. Richard Bargen; pp. 4-13: courtesy Houk Friedman Gallery, New York; pp. 14-17: courtesy PaceWildensteinMacGill, New York; pp. 18-19: courtesy Leo Castelli Gallery, New York; pp. 24-33: courtesy Magnum Photos, Inc., New York; pp. 52-61: courtesy Sidney Janis Gallery, New York; pp. 62-71: courtesy Curt Marcus Gallery, New York and Robert Mann Gallery, New York; p. 73: courtesy Magnum Photos, New York; p. 74 left: The Royal Photographic Society, Bath, RPS FI14 820; p. 74 right: courtesy Victoria and Albert Museum, London, gift of Dr. R. Steele; p. 75: courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, gift of Frederick H. Evans; p. 76 left: courtesy Victoria and Albert Museum, London; p. 76 middle: courtesy The Royal Photographic Society, Bath, RPS 15813; p. 76 right: courtesy The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, PML 77311; p. 77: courtesy the Estate of David Wojnarowicz and PPOW, New York; p. 78: courtesy Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, purchased with funds provided by the Hiro Yamagata Foundation.