Organized by Iwona Blazwick, the first major London retrospective of Thomas Ruff’s work features more than a dozen of the German photographer’s series, spanning from the 1970s to the present. Investigations of portraits, machines, and surveillance are seen in some series, while others allude to the current political climate in their explorations of the role of press photography.
In James Joyce in Paris, a portrait of the artist as an old man
<p>For all its outsize place in creative history, the Paris literary scene of the 1920s and ’30s was intimate, taking form in the shops and salons of a handful of publishers, booksellers, and critics. Gisèle Freund, for instance, was introduced to James Joyce at a dinner party in 1936 given by one such gatekeeper, Adrienne Monnier, the owner of the legendary Left Bank bookstore La Maison des Amis des Livres.</p>
From the underground art star, a delicate picture of youth
<p>In the early 1970s, in New York, Peter Hujar shuttered the commercial studio on Madison Square he’d been operating for a few years, moved into the East Village loft he would call home for the rest of his life, and turned his back on the hustle of fashion photography.</p>
“These days," Gregory Crewdson says, “whether I like something or not comes down to one basic question: Did it make me cry?" Known for meticulous, cinematic, and psychologically charged photographs that conjure scenes from the work of Edward Hopper and Alfred Hitchcock, Crewdson produced his most recent series, Cathedral of the Pines (published by Aperture in 2016), in the trails and forests of Becket, Massachusetts.
“There is a saying: ‘Make one picture for “them” and another for yourself,’” Collier Schorr remarks in this issue. But, she adds, “Slowly try to make them want the pictures that you want.” Schorr is referring to her insistence on expanding the spectrum of desire seen in commercial fashion advertising, notably through her recent campaign for Saint Laurent, which cast queer women of color.
Celebrated in the worlds of art and fashion, Collier Schorr has pushed photography to examine desire, sexuality, and beauty. From her work with teenage wrestlers, to her provocative advertising campaigns, to her exploration of the artist-muse relationship, she has exposed the fluidity and ambiguity of gender.
<p>If you somehow manage to make it all the way to the northern tip of Cape Cod, as far as you can go, really, on Route 6 before falling straight into the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll eventually reach Provincetown. It was once a New England fishing and whaling village; as the industry collapsed over a century ago, it slowly evolved into a welcoming artists’ community.</p>
Everyone knows the phrase “Black is beautiful,” but very few have heard of the man who helped to popularize it. Brooklyn-born black photographer Kwame Brathwaite has lived most of his life behind the camera, devoted to capturing the lives of others on film. Spending much of the 1960s in his tiny darkroom in Harlem, he perfected a processing technique that made black skin pop in a photograph, with a life and energy as complex as that decade.
It all began in front of the camera. In 2012, the French photography duo Jalan and Jibril Durimel created their street-style Tumblr Durimel. The blog announced the then eighteen-year-old twins to the world as a creative pair who ran around the streets of Paris taking pictures of themselves in the latest trends.
Fascinated by the glamour of midcentury Hollywood, Cairo's most renowned studio photographer turned the camera on himself.
I have great faith in surfaces. A good one is full of clues. —Richard Avedon Who was Van Leo? The question haunts anyone who sets out to write about him. He left behind so much for us to admire. And yet he gave us so very little. Of himself, I mean. So many unanswered questions loom.
In her recent series 9-ja_17, photographed in Lagos in 2017, Nadine Ijewere relied on street casting—inviting random people she saw to be a part of the project, and asking friends to invite others. Ijewere, a twenty-five-year-old photographer who lives and works in London, emphasizes that her work is a collaborative labor, and in an unusual move, she credits both the subjects of her photographs as well as others who were involved in the process of making the images come to fruition.
Although Helga Paris, born 1938 in Pomerania, was self-taught and more interested in amateur photography than in so-called fine art photography, a friend suggested she work professionally after he saw a picture she had taken of her two kids.
Delighting in male beauty and gender play, a prolific Swiss photographer reinvented the rules of attraction.
Visiting the photographer Walter Pfeiffer in his studio in Zurich, you find an orderly space, painted white, possessing the trappings of a typical design studio: swivel chairs, Pantone pens, and a white Formica tabletop on trestles. Yet, lining the walls are exquisitely arranged mood boards, wrapping paper, photographs, posters, plastic props, and a Technicolor cornucopia of cascading bolts of cloth.
In the late '90s era of Vogue Hommes International, a cosmopolitan vision of fashion
The aim was to “make people look like they are wearing their own clothes,” Phil Bicker told me recently, on a gray afternoon in central London. Bicker was the art director of Vogue Hommes International from 1997 to 2000, a short tenure considering that, as the magazine is a biannual publication, this meant working on just six issues.
For Buck Ellison, a California-based photographer who stages deadpan, meticulously stylized pictures of people in elite, banal-seeming scenarios, privilege is defined in minute details and practically unseen movements. Elise Silver, a model cast in Oh (2015), a study of innocuous teenage expression, will be recognizable to those who have seen her as a glamorous figure in luxury car advertisements.
Olgaç Bozalp’s photographs are like Georges Simenon novels. They feature characters who appear to hold many secrets: one wonders whether they are what they seem. In his fashion shoot Manufactured Self (2016), Bozalp’s subjects wander along corridors of a London school in varying poses of distress.
Last spring in a black hair salon in downtown Brooklyn, the hairdresser kept asking me if she really should take off more. "It is so long,” she lamented, "and there is all this good hair in the back.” "Coolie hair,” my grandfather would say, using the derogatory term to refer to his own Southeast Asian heritage.
"It will not be a style or fashion show; it will not display costumes; it will not offer specific dress reforms," reads the press release for Bernard Rudofsky’s 1944 exhibition Are Clothes Modern? at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). "The purpose of the exhibition is to bring about an entirely new and fresh approach to the subject of clothes.”
Gong Yining, a design student at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts, changes her style in the same way one might switch skins in a role-playing game. Wearing a blouse with a mandarin collar in brilliant red and matching red lipstick, she’s adamant that it’s all just appearances anyway.
Stories from the Aperture community— publications, exhibitions, and events
“This was at my first gay pride parade on the West Coast,” Lyle Ashton Harris says, “my first time seeing Dykes on Bikes.” A New York native, Harris had recently finished his first semester of graduate school at CalArts when this snapshot was taken.
“The first part of the day is free because Allen Ginsberg has postponed,” James Martin said, looking through Richard Avedon’s datebook for a “typical Richard Avedon schedule.” Martin, the executive director of the Richard Avedon Foundation, was referring to August 14, 1969.