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Aperture Spring 2018

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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

3 min.
agenda   exhibitions to see

Sally Mann For more than four decades, Sally Mann has explored “the overarching themes of existence: memory, desire, death, the bonds of family, and nature’s magisterial indifference to human endeavor,” says Sarah Greenough, senior curator at the National Gallery of Art, where a major survey of Mann’s elegiac black-andwhite photographs arrives this spring. Featuring 125 works, the exhibition includes several images by the Virginia-born artist that have never been published or shown until now, and looks at Mann’s relationship with her native land, “how it has shaped her work, and how the legacy of the South—as both homeland and graveyard, refuge and battleground—continues to inform American identity and experience.” Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., March 4–May 28, 2018 Being: New Photography 2018 What does “being” look…

2 min.
backstory man ray

In 1960, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) held The Sense of Abstraction, its second show on the relationship between photography and abstract art in under ten years. Following Abstraction in Photography, in 1951, which mixed scientific and fine art photographs, The Sense of Abstraction shifted direction, redefining the topic at hand. The curatorial approach of the 1960 show was bolstered by the international profile of Abstract Expressionism, particularly the posthumous celebrity of its fastestburning star, Jackson Pollock. MoMA curator Grace Mayer brought together three hundred works by over seventy artists, with many names that one would expect at this time, such as Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, and Frederick Sommer, but also with a look back to the generation of László Moholy-Nagy, Alfred Stieglitz, and Edward Weston. Recently, while researching in…

2 min.
on portraits garry winogrand

This is the first color picture by Garry Winogrand that I ever saw (on the cover of the 2002 book Winogrand: 1964), and the picture that made me want to visit White Sands in New Mexico. Is visit too mild a word for this extreme patch of otherworldly wilderness? Shade structure and barbecue lend the scene a hint of the suburbs. And how could they not, at a time when even Mars was conceived of as a potential extraterrestrial suburb? Everything urges us toward a point on the horizon—even though there is nothing there. In fact, the “everything” in that sentence is next to nothing: just the perspectival angling of car and shade structure. The sand is so featureless and white as to be a pure representation of nothingness. Usually…

4 min.
dispatches tehran

Since the 1979 revolution, Iran’s image abroad has been defined by its politics. In this newsroom universe, Iranian women have been front and center in the frame, the Western gaze seeking their exotic attire and problems. Iranian men, on the other hand, have been strangely absent from this picture, unless they are bearded politicians or directors of art-house movies. Young Iranian men, in particular— perennially present in their own cities in the countless murals of fallen heroes of the Iran-Iraq War—became invisible to the world, their issues lost in the daily economic and political maelstrom of the country. Abbas Kowsari, one of Iran’s prominent photojournalists, noticed the lack of representation of men in images about Iran while working as an assistant to thelate Sadegh Tirafkan, who addressed issues of masculinity in…

5 min.

He was born in Buffalo, New York, but Gregory Halpern found the light in California. His award-winning photobook ZZYZX (2016), named for a village and former mineral springs spa near the Mojave Desert, presents images that move westward across Los Angeles in a five-year chronicle of vivid, seemingly unrelated scenes—a blue tarp punched with holes, a smoky mountainside, a staircase leading nowhere, a couple towing carts of their possessions. Whether in Los Angeles or Rochester, where he lives, Halpern pursues the American themes of isolation and manifest destiny with a sense of enigmatic, open-ended beauty. Early British punk I became fascinated by punk hilariously late in life, at age thirty. What I like is that it feels like art made from the body as much as from the head— and I like…

4 min.
prison nation

Most prisons and jails across the United States do not allow prisoners to have access to cameras. How, then, can images tell the story of mass incarceration when the imprisoned don’t have control over their own representation? How can photographs visualize a reality that, for many, remains outside of view? Nicole R. Fleetwood, this issue’s contributing editor, is an expert on the intersections of art and incarceration. But for her, the story is personal. “My initial awareness of mass incarceration,” she says, “came from growing up in a working-class black community in southwest Ohio that was highly policed, routinely harassed, and repeatedly brutalized by local police forces.” This was also a time, in the 1980s and early ’90s, when the so-called War on Drugs, the impact of deindustrialization (especially on cities…