The given demand on the photographer is to be there (wherever there may be). The demand less easy to define or achieve is to see. And, as Henri Cartier-Bresson asserts in the following pages, "Seeing is questioning." In this issue of Aperture we bring you questions, then, posed with regard to humanity, earthly beauty, and unrepressed spirit.
How did photography and "moving pictures" come to take center stage of the art world at the turn of the new century? Why are museums and galleries of contemporary art from New York to Tokyo to Johannesburg today filled with large-scale, spectacular photographs and high-definition video projections?
The following is an excerpt from the Human Rights Watch report titled "Jenin: IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) Military Operations." On April 3, 2002, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) launched a major military operation in the Jenin refugee camp, home to some fourteen thousand Palestinians, the overwhelming majority of them civilians.
We moved to Florida—my mother, my two younger sisters, and I—after my father had been killed in a small-plane crash. I was eleven and didn't understand why my mother could no longer bear the suburban Philadelphia house we lived in, the house I never wanted to leave.
Tango spanned the twentieth century. It was the fabulous dance of the past hundred years—and the most beautiful, in the opinion of Martha Graham. Jorge Luis Borges divined one of the reasons for its staying power: tango translates outrage into music.
In a strange rapture, a blind boy feels his way along a speckled wall. Two women at a transit camp for refugees in April 1945: one is a former Gestapo informer; the other, with an almost inhuman grimace, points her finger. Matisse, his back to the camera, draws a woman who is all sumptuous curls.
Thirty-five years ago, protest was in the air and on the streets. But unlike today, the photographer was essential to the depiction and interpretation of the turmoil that swirled about. Looking at the photographs from 1968 is an exercise in nostalgia.
Obsessed by mythology, Manuel Alvarez Bravo led a legendary life. Haunted by history, he became it. Entranced by all he saw, he created a way of seeing. He was a street photographer, a portraitist, a surrealist, an experimentalist, a creator of iconic landscapes, still lifes, and nudes.
Jonathan Williams: A PALPABLE ELYSIUM: PORTRAITS OF GENIUS AND SOLITUDE
All my favorite avuncular adjectives trot forth when I think about Aaron Siskind: kindly, astute, enthusiastic, loyal, uproarious, masterly. Has there ever been a greater photographer? To ask that excessive question is not to diminish the tremendous range of Paul Strand or the depth of feeling in Stieglitz or Sudek.
Poetism culminated during the latter half of the 1920s as an artistic movement, not merely as a vital principle. Its intricate development was almost concurrent with that of the Czech avantgarde. The main theoretical representatives of Devětsil, Vítězslav Nezal and Karel Teige, devoted a special issue of ReD to the movement, published under the general title "Poetist Manifestos" (ReD no.9, 1928).
Winogrand photographed what amazed him and aroused his interest. Each picture was a formal translation of "Look at that!" Once they were photographs in his hands, the good ones held even more welcome surprises, but not accidents. His best pictures, and there are mountains of them, are the result of a radically disciplined photographic intelligence charged with animal alertness.
Inge Morath, who died on January 30, 2002, brought all her vibrancy and keen intelligence to the photographs she took over the course of half a century. The luminous, joyful quality of her pictures directly reflects the synthesis of her public and personal life.
VINCE ALETTI is the art editor and photography critic for the Village Voice, and a regular contributor to Artforum magazine. He was the co-editor of Aperture's issue "Male/Female," which featured his interview with Madonna, and an essayist for The Book of 101 Books: Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century (Ruth Horowitz, LLC/PPP Editions, in collaboration with DAP, 2001).
ALBUQUERQUE, NM New Mexico Museum of Natural History, Michael Nichols:Brutal Kinship March 22June 14, 2003 ATLANTA, GA The High Museum of Art Land of Myth and Memory: Clarence John Laughlin and Photographers of the South January 25August 9, 2003
Marina Abramovic, Eddie Adams, Bruno Barbey, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gilles Carone, Gregory Crewdson, Raymond Depardon, Rineke Dijkstra, Bill Eppridge, Elliott Erwitt, Adriana Groisman, Hiroji Hamaya, Candida Höfer, Josef Koudelka, Elliot Landy, Roger Malloch, Constantine Manos, Mary Ellen Mark, Don McCullin, Andrea Modica, Inge Morath, Paul Strand, Larry Towell, Sam Taylor Wood, Marcos Vilariño, Li Zhensheng TO SUBSCRIBE: Aperture (ISSN 0003-6420) is published quarterly, In spring, summer, fall, and winter, at 20 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010.