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Aperture Spring 2019

Founded in 1952, Aperture is an essential guide to the world of contemporary photography that combines the finest writing with inspiring photographic portfolios. Each issue examines one theme explored in “Words,” focused on the best writing surrounding contemporary photography, and “Pictures,” featuring immersive portfolios and artist projects.

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United States
Aperture Foundation
4 Issues

in this issue

4 min
chuck shacochis

More than twenty years have passed since the release of John Waters’s film Pecker (1998), which tells the story of an aspiring photographer, played by Edward Furlong, whose deliciously gritty black-and-white images of the characters and happenings in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood catch the eye of a New York gallerist. Much hullabaloo follows—critics rave over his debut show; an arts writer calls his friends and family “culturally challenged” in the newspaper; his grandmother Memama appears on the cover of Artforum; the Whitney Museum of American Art offers him a show, to be titled A Peek at Pecker; and, eventually, the great and good of the New York art world end up partying in Baltimore, where Pecker decides to stage his own show. The film remains a cult favorite and one in…

15 min
paradise & dystopia

For more than three decades, the German artist Thomas Struth has made photographs of startling clarity and precision. He approaches his subjects—New York streetscapes and South Korean skylines, German families and Queen Elizabeth II, the Louvre and Disneyland—with the objective eye of a journalist and the meticulous composition of a painter. Associated with the Düsseldorf School of Photography, which emerged in Germany, in the 1970s, under the teaching of Bernd and Hilla Becher, Struth’s work is also connected to the psychological depth of August Sander’s portraits and the conceptual rigor found in the paintings of Gerhard Richter, his former mentor. Struth’s recent book Nature & Politics (2016) extends his fascination with natural landscapes into a critique of human engagement with the planet, looking at the built environment. On an uncharacteristically warm…

2 min
rediscovered books and writings

Sometimes rude, often crude, the graffiti that Jill Posener began photographing in London in the 1970s and collected in Spray It Loud, a slim photobook published in 1982, reflects the signature struggles of the British left at the time. The book’s typology of delinquent typography is comprised of feminist tags and antiracist slogans, calls for social housing and for nuclear disarmament. The daubed demands that Posener encountered as she roamed the city with her A-to-Z street atlas appear against a backdrop of urban decay and social deprivation—the context that secured the Conservative Party its mandate to govern in 1979 with a pernicious ideology of free-market capitalism and nationalistic rhetoric. The graffiti, Posener writes in the book’s introduction, reminds her “that there is resistance and rebellion.” Spray It Loud is a record…

1 min
aperture limited-edition photographs

Aperture is pleased to present a series of limited-edition prints and portfolios from artists featured in the magazine. Proceeds from the sale of these editions support the artists as well as Aperture Foundation’s publishing and public programs. Ethan James Green Gogo and Ser, 2015 Edition of 10. Featured in issue #229, “Future Gender.” Carolyn Drake Kyle in Target parking lot, Twin Falls, Idaho, 2016 Edition of 10. Featured in issue #226, “American Destiny.” Durimel Bigger then, Bigger Glenn, 2017 Edition of 15. Featured in issue #228, “Elements of Style.” Kathya Maria Landeros Main Street laundromat, Methow Valley, Washington, 2012 Edition of 10. Featured in issue #226, “American Destiny.” Christopher Anderson Pia with balloon in Gràcia, Barcelona, 2016 Edition of 25. Featured in issue #233, “Family.” Shop: aperture.org/prints…

10 min
ecofeminist world building

Undoubtedly the land, oceans, and atmosphere of Earth have been forever changed by human technologies, in ways that humans cannot roll back. For philosopher Michel Serres, this presents a paradox of ineffective power. As he once noted in a conversation with fellow philosopher Bruno Latour, “We are now, admittedly, the masters of the Earth and of the world, but our very mastery seems to escape our mastery.… Everything happens as though our powers escaped our powers—whose partial projects, sometimes good and often intentional, can backfire or unwittingly cause evil.” The sense of helplessness Serres writes about can easily become a kind of inertia. How to act in the face of the continuing corporate-driven exploitation of Earth, happening at a pace and on a scale that countercollectives of environmentalists, scientists, and the…

9 min
wanda nanibush notions of land

Imagine a lonely warrior slumped over his horse, backlit by a sun setting over rolling hills, or a group of warriors riding off toward the horizon. It isn’t hard for most people to conjure because we have been raised on these romantic images of the so-called vanishing Indian. Photography, which developed hand in hand with colonialism, has largely been responsible for the continued stereotype of the noble savage. What “Indians” are admired for—the idea of being one with nature, one with the land and animals—is also seen as the source of their inferiority and inevitable demise. It is given as the main reason they are unable to survive in modern society: “Indians” are part of nature, not civilization, and, by extension of this argument, less than human. American photographers in the…