It would be difficult to overstate Robert Delpire's role in photography. As a publisher, curator, and restless advocate, he is responsible for introducing a host of now major figures in the field through his publishing house, Éditions Delpire, as well as in the pages of the many magazines he has headed (including Nouvel Observateur Spécial Photo), and in his capacity as the longtime director of Paris's Centre National de la Photographie.
Publisher ROBERT DELPIRE is the subject of the exhibition Delpire et Cie., which opens at Aperture's New York exhibition space May 9, 2012. Two other shows about Delpire's life and work will be presented concurrently in New York, at the Gallery at Hermès and at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.
The first major art historical movement impossible to imagine without the participation of photography is probably Dada; the second would be Surrealism. In both movements photography is central, causal, and fundamental, fully entwined in constructing the vernacular of their vision.
Cecil Beaton: The New York Years, at the Museum of the City of New York, is installed with a flamboyance that borders on camp. The long hallway leading into the exhibition itself is painted floor to ceiling with murals in the sprightly, sophisticated style of Beaton's drawings, a number of which are copied and conflated here, along with enormous versions of his books' illustrated covers.
When Orville Schell, director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society, found words inadequate to emphasize the consequences of carbon-dioxide emission, he decided to produce a multimedia documentary exhibition, Coal + Ice, with a focus on the rapidly melting Himalayan glaciers.
The term museum seems to be going out of fashion. Newer art spaces tend to avoid the title altogether, preferring anything— institute, house, gallery, center, pier, public school, and so on— that might situate them far from the overbearing halls filled with dusty antiquities and faded paintings that still cloud our collective imagination upon hearing the word.
In 1892 a harbor engineer donated a painting to the city of Durban, on the east coast of South Africa. By all accounts, this was the start of the seaside city's civic art collection, now at the Durban Art Museum, which includes more than 3,500 pieces.
Last year, I was invited by the High Museum to come to Atlanta and take some photographs, as part of the museum's ongoing project Picturing the South. I always relish shooting in the States—the junk food, the ever-enthusiastic people, the sheer madness, it all gets my juices flowing— and the idea of Atlanta (where I'd never been) sounded great.
Jean Depara was born in 1928 in Angola. His family was exiled to the Lower Congo when he was fifteen; soon thereafter, he dropped out of school and began taking odd jobs to make some money— mason, shoemaker, carpenter, electrician, and scrap-metal salesman.
While on a road trip through South Africa's Karoo region in 2006, Daniel Naudé encountered a feral dog foaming at the mouth and wearing an intent gaze. This run-in motivated Naudé to begin his series of photographs on the Africanis, wild dogs thought to have migrated from Egypt and now inhabiting the South African countryside.
Some years ago, in downtown Iowa City, a friend and I passed an unlikely patch of corn growing out of some dirt lodged in a concrete divider between pumps in a gas station. “First-year photography students!” said my friend. “Over here!” Too often, humor in photographs has that “first-year-students-over-here” quality: the easy irony, the thinness of the sight gag or the visual pun.
Jason Fulford is a photographer and co-founder of the U.S. publishing house J & L Books. In 2010, the Soon Institute (Netherlands) released his book The Mushroom Collector, a project that started when a friend gave Fulford a manila envelope, found at a flea market, full of anonymous photographs of mushrooms.
Eight years ago, in 2004, while working on a project about women in Afghanistan, I visited a cinderblock-and-earth-caked women’s shelter outside Herat. With their headscarves off and draped around their shoulders, women and girls lined up to tell me their stories.
Over the past sixty years, the eyes and instincts of Robert Delpire have shaped much of the world’s understanding of photography. A prolific publisher and exhibition organizer, with a razor-sharp comprehension of the graphic arts, Delpire has had a defining hand in the careers of many of the master photographers of recent history.
LIGHT FADES: FRED RITCHIN ON HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON
Photography, the thinking goes, is done in the present to be seen in the future as the past. But there are other thoughts as well. In this story it was lunchtime during the summer in Provence, a quarter of a century ago. I was sitting at a long table in the home of Martine Franck and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
“I have always prided myself that my work is, as I like to put it, a combination of the prurient and the pedantic,” writes Errol Morris in his new book, Believing Is Seeing (Observations on the Mysteries of Photography) (Penguin, 2011). Morris, who invited viewers to consider a new mode of objectivity with his 1988 documentary The Thin Blue Line and subsequent films, often gets that balance between intellect and raw human appetite just right.
Some of McGinley’s pictures have the unrefined look that is characteristic of the snapshot aesthetic associated with insider documentary. Others reflect an acute sensitivity to light and an avid appreciation for classical form. In a late-night image of his boyfriend hunched in an elevator, for example, fluorescent illumination reflecting off the metallic walls dulls hard-edged details and renders a cool, misty mood.
Vivian Maier represents an extreme instance of posthumous discovery: of someone who exists entirely in terms of what she saw. Not only was she entirely unknown to the photographic world, hardly anyone seemed to know that she even took photographs.
NATHAN LYONS: SELECTED ESSAYS, LECTURES, AND INTERVIEWS
Jessica S. McDonald
Late one night in January of 1966, Nathan Lyons, Garry Winogrand, and Simpson Kalisher spilled into a Manhattan apartment, in the middle of a spirited discussion sparked at a nearby restaurant. Lyons, then curator of photography at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, and a photographer himself, had the foresight to begin recording their earnest conversation—sometimes heated, often boisterous—as they settled around the dining room table, pouring wine and smoking an endless chain of cigarettes.
Two festivals in Asia, China’s Lianzhou International Photography Festival (LIPF) and Cambodia’s PhotoPhnomPenh (PPP), are vital to the creation of a new generation of photographers from the “majority world” (to borrow a term from documentarian Shahidul Alam).
GREIL MARCUS ON EDWARD STEICHEN’S "OLYMPIC SWIMMER AGNES GERAGHTY," 1929 AND BERENICE ABBOTT’S "BETTY PARSONS," 1927
Edward Steichen’s Olympic Swimmer Agnes Geraghty was made in 1929, Berenice Abbott’s Betty Parsons in 1927, but today the pictures erase their dates. They seem straight out of Henry Luce’s Life magazine, which didn’t appear until 1936. For me, the images leap onto the magazine’s cover: I can’t see either as anything but part of Life’s never-ending quest to find the real Miss America, its issue-by-issue orchestration of the pageant of the all-American girl, starlet, model, athlete, coed, farmer’s daughter, whoever she might be, wherever she might be found, which, Life argued so insistently, was anywhere in the U.S.A.