Last fall Aperture approached seven distinguished photographers and asked them who they would like to see published in the periodical. We offered very few guidelines. The photographers they choose should be actively working, and deserving of wider attention, we told them.
Aperture has asked me to single out special people whose work has influenced my own. There have been so many that it is hard to choose. But through my almost half-century of membership with Magnum Photos, perhaps I have learned most from their photographers.
In 1992 I gave a Master Class under the auspices of the International Center of Photography. None of the photographers had come to learn about lenses, lighting, or the rules of composition. They were there to learn the thing that can't be taught: how to liberate their photographs from the tyranny of technology, art, and the propaganda of appearances.
When asked to make a statement about art, I find it hard to say too terribly much because art is so mysterious. However, when asked to name another photographer’s work I think about, I’d have to name Emmet Gowin. Emmet was one of many wonderful students I had and he has certainly gone on to make his own work: the fulfillment of the greatest challenge any artist can face.
In Mexico I recently had a wonderful reunion with Antonio Turok, who was one of the students of the Ansel Adams Workshop held in Yosemite in 1974. Antonio was 18 years of age, the youngest student. After I had shown my slides, including the "Kamaitachi" series, he came to me and said, "I feel now that I do not need to stay in the U.S., but I will return to Mexico, to find my own subject there."
There are dozens of people I could suggest, but my favorite lyrical American photographer right now is Bill Arnold. In her proposed book of Bill Arnold's photographs, Judy Linn says it best: “The real attachment, the art in these photographs, is in the discovery of the poetic.
I was born in Austria, near its southeastern border. Since my childhood I have been familiar with the Eastern European countries, their history and their people, and I was often only too aware of how little was known in the West about this part of Europe, out of which so many people made their way to the United States and helped form its many-faceted face.
Publication: photographs and text by Gordon Parks, with an essay by Phillip Brookman. Bulfinch Press/Little, Brown, 1997, hardcover, 360 pages, $100.00. Exhibition: Corcoran Gallery of Art, September 10, 1997, to January 11, 1998. Traveling to the Minnesota Museum of American Art, February 14 to May 14, 1998; the Museum of the City of New York, July 1 to November 1, 1998; and several other venues through 2001.
Exhibition: Site Santa Fe, November 1, 1997, to January 25, 1998. Traveling to the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, March 23 to June 13, 1998; National Museum of Women in the Arts, July 9 to September 27, 1998; and Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, November 20, 1998 to January 24, 1999.
At the end of the Gulf War in April 1991, Susan Meiselas, like many other photojournalists, traveled to northern Iraq, with the intention of documenting the thousands of Kurdish refugees fleeing the country. Stunned by what she witnessed, however, Meiselas quickly became curious about the places and circumstances they had left behind.
AMY ARBUS's photographs have appeared in numerous periodicals around the world. From 1980 through 1991 her monthly page, “On the Street,” appeared in the style section of the Village Voice. Her first book, No Place Like Home, featured portraits of people with unusual homes.