In this issue, Ariella Azoulay, an Israeli scholar specializing in visual culture, introduces the work of Aim Deüelle Lüski, who for more than thirty years has explored the limitations and presumptions of how images are created, received, and experienced.
In response to Andy Grundberg's review of Robert Bergman’s photographs in issue 199
Andy Grundberg responds:
David Levi Strauss
The Summer 2010 issue of Aperture magazine contains a curious "review" ["Robert Bergman: Portraits, 1986-1995"] written by Andy Grundberg, former photography critic for the New York Times and now Associate Dean and Chair of Photography at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C. Ostensibly a review of Robert Bergman's recent solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, Grundberg's piece says little of substance about the work itself, and is remarkably noncommittal about its particular qualities.
LYNSEY ADDARIO is based in New Delhi, where she photographs for the New York Times and National Geographic, among other publications. She is the recipient of several awards, including a 2002 ICP Infinity Award, a MacArthur Fellowship in 2009, and a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for her photographs with the story "Talibanistan," part of the New York Times team prize for International Reporting.
In Edgar Allan Poe's 1840 short story "The Man of the Crowd," the protagonist sits at the window of a London coffeehouse looking out at the passing throng, when "suddenly there came into view a countenance ... which at once arrested and absorbed my whole attention, on account of the absolute idiosyncrasy of its expression ... I felt singularly aroused, startled, fascinated....
Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) made history and a name by upsetting expectations. He turned both photography and time upside down and thereby influenced science, art, and entertainment up to today. Harold Edgerton’s images of flying bullets and Berenice Abbott’s illustrations of classical physics are extensions of Muybridge’s stop-action photography.
Film noir might be the clearest cultural manifestation of the self-absorbed ennui that followed World War II, with its sober existentialism chastened by memories of the grinding Depression and the hollow aura of recent victory deflated by rising consciousness of the Holocaust, Hiroshima, and the implications of the Cold War.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum's exhibition Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance presents one hundred works drawn from the museum's collection. As such, it is exempt, or perhaps disqualified, from delivering what it seems to promise, a comprehensive view of where we are now and how we got here.
Lynsey knocked on my hotel-room door. It was early and I was sleeping. This was in Tehran and we didn't know each other. She came in, put down her stuff, and started right in—her luggage was lost, we had to leave that day for the Iranian border with Kurdish Iraq, did I have the number for the Ministry of Culture guy (basically our minder).
Since the mid-1970s, Israeli artist Aïm Deüelle Lüski has invented a variety of cameras, each conceived especially for a particular phenomenon or event to be photographed at a specific historical moment. In order to understand Deüelle Lüski's Cameras project, we must consider the invention of photography itself and the institutionalization of the photographic format that is so familiar today.
"I like the possibility of photography to have a conceptual, intellectual character," says Lucia Nimcova. "I am not sure if the results are always understandable for a wider audience, but I do not care. I know why I did it. And it should not matter if I took pictures, or if I used found footage.
Willy Ronis died in Paris last year, just before what would have been his hundredth birthday. Until the end, he was alert and engaged in his work, with memories of his long career still intact. Like his contemporaries Robert Doisneau, Izis, and Édouard Boubat, Ronis was a central proponent of a certain humanist photography that flourished after World War II, when people in Europe were hopeful that together they could build a better world.
When asked in an interview to comment on being an artist in Taiwan, the photographer and filmmaker Chieh-Jen Chen says: Taiwan is a state of exception; it isn't considered a country by the international community, yet has its own democratically elected government.
At the crux of Axel Hoedt's 2008 project Fastnacht is a series of questions—both intended (his) and unintended (mine). The facts we have to go on read something like this: Hoedt is a photographer from the southern German village of Staufen, which is, incidentally, infamously associated with Dr. Faust, who according to legend made a pact with the Devil at an inn there.
Today, leafing through Roger Ballen's 2005 publication Shadow Chamber, one becomes aware of an element that might have passed almost unnoticed when that book first came out. The photographer, whose book Outland had been published in 2001, opened this new volume with four images: a portrait, comparable to those that had initially brought attention to his work, followed by three photographs, all dominated by three walls covered with drawings, graffiti, and a rather perplexing, apparently natural dripping.
All over the United States, prison inmates are making photographic portraits of other inmates, posed against painted backdrops—also made by inmates—featuring fantasy scenes of life outside the prison walls. The practice is thus a collaboration by, for, and about prisoners.
THE CRUEL RADIANCE: PHOTOGRAPHY AND POLITICAL VIOLENCE
This is a book of criticism, not theory. It seeks to claim for photography criticism the same freedom of response championed by film critics like James Agee and Pauline Kael, dance critics like Edwin Denby and Arlene Croce, theater critics like Kenneth Tynan, and music critics like Greil Marcus.
When the Swiss poet Albrecht von Haller sang the praises of poverty rather than affluence, simplicity and restraint rather than luxury and opulence in his poem The Alps (1729), he could hardly foresee that such ideas of Alpine life would persist for centuries.
KANAVAL: VODOU, POLITICS AND REVOLUTION ON THE STREETS OF HAITI
Carnival has never been just a party. Carnival is a time for releasing tensions, for rupturing the boredom of the quotidian labouring life. It's a time for making political commentary, and for keeping history in mind and in focus. Plot the great and lesser-known carnival cities on a map: they run the length and breadth of the Caribbean basin, from Loíza, Puerto Rico, to Limón, Costa Rica, and from Santo Domingo to San Salvador de Bahía.
It goes almost without saying that the Polish nation has undergone enormous transformations in the past two centuries—including horrendous damages under the Soviets and the Nazis. Since the end of Soviet rule in 1989—notwithstanding the cultural compromises related to its absorption into the European Union—Poland has been experiencing a kind of cultural renaissance, as witnessed in the emergence of two important photography festivals in the past ten years: Photo Month Kraków and the Fotofestiwal in Lodz.
ON AN IMAGE FROM EUGENE RICHARDS’S COCAINE TRUE, COCAINE BLUE, 1990
STEPHEN W. NICHOLAS
Have you ever experienced visceral surprise, an internal gasp of sudden understanding, when looking at a photograph? It's intensified when you already think you're the expert. When I was about to finish medical school in Denver in the early 1980s, a local newspaper carried photographs by Eugene Richards from Denver General Hospital's emergency room, a series that captured "the cuts, burns, broken limbs, heart attacks, and then, what's inside the human body...now and then someone who surely would have died lived, and there were children who stopped crying and old people who could go back home."