We open this issue on the beach, with Richard Misrach's most recent body of work. Subtly intertwining an apocalyptic vision with his trademark textured luminosity, Misrach offers us the calm before the storm. The sea also beckons Paul Thorel, but here as the means and not the end.
For some photographers—the photojournalists—the stone must be photographed at the split second that it hits the water. It is in the recording of the significant event, frozen and sliced to a fractional second, that they believe photography excels.
There is something disturbingly déjà vu about Cindy Sherman's photographs. She plays a convincing game of costumes and characters, and her images seem to recall scenes that, though familiar, we can never quite place. In a lofty apartment she is the heroine from a 1960s B-movie we never saw; in shadow, she is the victim in a horror story we only heard about; in full velvet costume she becomes the Renaissance mistress whose portrait we never contemplated.
CRUEL + TENDER: THE REAL IN THE TWENTIETH-CENTURY PHOTOGRAPH
This exhibition is a triumph of context over content. After all, the content is hardly unfamiliar. If you have seen any photo-documentary survey of the past fifty years, it will necessarily have included grand masters such as Walker Evans, August Sander, Robert Frank; any big contemporary exhibitions will likely have shown Martin Parr, Boris Mikhailov, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, or Thomas Struth.
Photographic self-portraits come in many guises, not all of them standard-issue likenesses. Andreas Feininger obscured his face with his camera. Lucas Samaras metamorphosed into monsters and decorative explosions by manipulating Polaroid film before it set.
I do very subversive work," admits Iranian photographer Yassaman Ameri, her brown eyes flashing with delight as we lean in over her computer screen to see the section of a lush formal painting from the late nineteenth century, where she had subversively "Photoshopped out," or digitally erased, the figure of Iranian Prince Ardeshir.
Two of the great archetypes in Archaic Greek sculpture, the kouros (young man) and kore (young woman), evolved over the course of the sixth century BCE. These extraordinary carved figures are, as art historian H. K. Janson writes, "neither gods nor men but something in between, an ideal of physical perfection and vitality shared by mortal and immortal alike."
FROM WATCHING TO SEEING: Photographs by Egbert Trogemann
Since 1999, I've been working on a long-term photo-project called "TV Studio Audience." I have photographed more than sixty shows in Germany so far. Most of the country's television studios are in Cologne and Berlin; whenever I drive from my home in Düsseldorf for a studio shoot, I try to visualize what the scenario awaiting me will be like.
What does Richard Kalvar see when he puts his eye to the lens? He is there for the flash of emotion between old lovers, with the dozing sunbather in New York’s Bryant Park, and with two bears basking rapturously on cobblestones. He is there for the geometric moment of truth, when form and meaning intersect.
Here's a testament to photography's evolution: it is the chosen medium of an artist like Loretta Lux. She is a painter by training, whose admitted primary influences are Old Masters: Bronzino, Pinturicchio, Velásquez. Although her photographic work bears little relation to her paintings, she says: "I still think as a painter—| especially in terms of structuring a picture.... I carefully choose the models, costumes, requisites, and backdrops of my photographs."
Always a keen observer of his sons, Edward Weston once wrote in his Daybooks: "Cole—the baby, yet I would guess the oldest soul of them all: a little rogue, but a dear rogue, with mischievous ways and dancing eyes." Cole Weston was then a high-strung eleven-year-old, and Edward also sensed in his child "an indescribable pathos, as though he’d known, knew, or would know a world’s affliction."
I am in an enormous ornate white gorgeous hotel which is on fire, doomed, but the fire is burning so slowly that people are still allowed to come and go freely. I can't see the fire but smoke hangs thinly everywhere especially around the lights.
Edward Steichen's The Pond—Moonlight (1904), with its reflections of loosely defined trees and pinkish light source disappearing behind the horizon, not to mention its exquisitely planned composition, brings to mind the paintings of Edvard Munch more than anything in prior photography.
SUSAN MEISELAS: ENCOUNTERS WITH THE DANI; STORIES FROM THE BALIEM VALLEY
This moment in the valley may not be so unlike the last years of the 18th century on the Great Plains of America. Here, now, there is a culture that lives according to the customs and codes of preceding centuries. They are not remarkably more or less advanced today than they were a hundred years ago.
Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation (Required by 39 U.S.C. 3685). 1. Title of publication: Aperture; 2. Publication no.: 0003-6420; 3. Date of filing: October 1, 2003; 4. Frequency of issue: Quarterly; 5. No. of issues published annually: 4; 6.