To compile Aperture's second issue entitled "Explorations," devoted to artists who are not yet widely recognized, Aperture gathered suggestions from our advisory board, reviewed portfolios at FotoFest, and requested images from photographers whose work we have been watching progress over the years.
I build installations in the landscape or in abandoned interiors and then make private performances for my camera that are part ritual, part dance, and part daydream. I have many fantasies—being able to fly is the main one—and am frustrated by the limitations of an earthbound body.
Mona wants to sing semiclassical songs for the radio, she wants to celebrate her daughter's birthday in a fivestar hotel, and she wants to open an orphanage. She wants to break out of the traditional role for eunuchs of singing and dancing at births and weddings.
Carlota Duarte, an artist and curator, interviewed Maruch Sántiz Gómez for Aperture in July, 1998, in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. The interview was conducted in Spanish. They first met in 1993, one year after Carlota initiated the Chiapas Photography Project and Maruch became a visiting artist with Sna Jtz'ibajom—House of the Writer.
There's a Native American saying, "Even rocks have souls." I too believe that everything has a place and worth, even inanimate objects. Rocks come out of the crust of the earth, say from a volcanic eruption, they take the shape you see in my pictures, and then over time they become dust.
Several years ago, I went to a small, European-style circus. I quickly realized that this stimulating and evocative environment would inspire my next photographic series. The circus is a dark microcosm both visually and emotionally. My images explore this world and serve as metaphors.
Snapshots are generally thought of as mementos of a vacation, or remembrances of a special occasion. They are pasted into albums and become a personal history. You are familiar with the family album—you know how to read it, and that makes my work user friendly—you can bring it back to yourself.
Dear Melissa, You have asked me to write about my newest work, which I call "Starry Nights." I have been in Israel since 1976. My first major effort after I settled here was in the vast wilderness of the Sinai desert. In the Sinai, I photographed a landscape very nearly untouched by the hand of man—a wilderness that showed instead the "hand" of the Creator.
"Nightswimming, NYC 1993-94," the full title, places the work after Stonewall (1969), the advent of AIDS (1981), and of safe-sex education (1984). In 1979 it might have been a ragged celebration; in 1983 perhaps an indictment; today it seems in part a solace but, like sex itself, crucially conflicted.
Dear Melissa, My name is Johannes van Leeuwen, shortname Jan (John in English). I was born on February 4, 1932, in Amsterdam and married in 1953. We had a son in 1956 and a daughter in 1966. During World War II my wife and I lived in Amsterdam, which was to be an essential influence on the rest of my life.
Published almost six years after the exhibitions that were its genesis, Image and Memory: Photography from Latin America, 1866-1994, edited by Wendy Watriss and Lois Parkinson Zamora, is a monumental bilingual catalog for the shows organized by FotoFest—a photographic arts and education organization in Houston— during the Columbian Quincentenary of 1992, and that later circulated in an abridged version.
The art world loves its biennales: Venice, São Paolo, Havana...and Shoreditch? This unlikely corner of East London, which for over a century has served as home to a mostly immigrant and working-class population, has of late developed into an enclave of the kind of artists' loft chic that has overtaken industrial areas in many cosmopolitan cities.
JAMES OLES is Assistant Professor of Art History at Wellesley College, and lives part-time in Mexico City. His most recent book is Helen Levitt: Mexico City (W. W. Norton in association with the Center for Documentary Photography, Duke University, 1997).
Unless otherwise noted, all photographs are courtesy of and copyright by the artists. Photographs pp. 12-19 courtesy Network Photographers, Ltd., London. Unless otherwise noted, all texts are written and copyright by the artists. Credits for artists' portraits on pages 2-3: