ZINIO logo

Aperture Winter 2018

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.

Read More
United States
Aperture Foundation
4 Issues

in this issue

3 min
tenzing dakpa

One spring after another this century, I have checked into an eleven-room guesthouse overlooking a small garden in the shadow of snowcaps. Each one of its sunlit rooms is decorated with a distinctive Tibetan mural, and each one is named after a particular feature or region of Tibet. From my terrace I can hear gongs being sounded in the Dalai Lama’s temple across the way. Before first light, scores of Tibetans spinning prayer wheels can be seen making a ritual circumambulation of their leader’s house. Every waiter and chambermaid in Chonor House is an exile from Tibet, and when I sit in the garden, among flowers and wild dogs, watching maroon-robed nuns head back to their home up the hill, I might almost be back in Lhasa. But the power and…

12 min
american families

“I have found no standard art history that refers to any Afro-American artist,” Deborah Willis wrote on November 14, 1973, in a statement about her intention to research the contributions of black photographers working in the United States from 1840 to 1940. After approaching a number of collections and libraries and drawing up a list that included Roy DeCarava, James VanDerZee, and Gordon Parks, she asked herself: “Could these black photographers receive the same recognition their white colleagues received?” This question has animated Willis’s influential books, essays, conferences, and curatorial projects concerning the relationship between African American identity and photography and has brought to the foreground the stories of black people as both makers and subjects of images, from Civil War–era portraits to contemporary photo-based art. For Willis, a distinguished professor…

2 min
object lessons

“I began making photographs and came out as a lesbian in that wonderful spring of 1971,” the photographer Cathy Cade once wrote in an artist’s statement. At the time, Cade was living in San Francisco and was already a seasoned activist. “I got the idea to be a documentary photographer from being in the civil rights movement and seeing how effective the photographs taken were,” she said. “But when I was there in the ’60s, I didn’t think I could become a photographer because I was a woman.” In San Francisco, Cade saw women pursuing typically masculine trades, such as carpentry and auto repair, and decided to take a few lessons with photographer Bill Light. Three weeks after coming out, Cade thought decisively to herself, “Now, I can get pregnant.” She…

3 min
charlie engman

What is a grown man supposed to do with his mother? Ignore her. Help her. Visit her dutifully. Keep an emotional and intellectual distance. Bring the grandchildren around to show. Suffer with a plastic smile through Thanksgiving dinners. Keep the thick and invisible wall between grown child and mature parent in its place. To do anything else is a taboo that we do not even talk about. But the heart-stopping fear and wonder and sometimes disgust that Charlie Engman’s portraits of his mother engender in the viewer make this taboo plain. To make art with someone else (as Engman and his mother make these photographs together) is always to engage in an intimate exchange of mind, body, spirit, heart. Why should it be so shocking to see this intimacy happen between…

3 min
exhibitions to see

Graciela Iturbide Several years ago, when Kristen Gresh, curator of photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, visited Graciela Iturbide at the photographer’s Mexico City studio, she was given carte blanche to look into her archives. Gresh and Iturbide went through everything they could, pulling pictures from boxes that even Iturbide’s assistant didn’t know existed. The result is a major acquisition by the museum of Iturbide’s work—notable for its focus on the lives and rituals of Mexicans—and an exhibition, Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico, covering the photographer’s five-decade-long career. “Her work is a wonderful testament to the hybrid cultures in Mexico, the coexistence of indigenous and Catholic traditions,” Gresh says. “I think she catches the moment in a different way, because it comes from her connection, her way of being.” Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico…

12 min
diana markosian santa barbara

In October 1996, the Armenian American photographer Diana Markosian was seven years old, living with her family in Moscow, when her mother told her and her brother to pack their things; they were going on a trip. She didn’t say where. “We left immediately,” Markosian told me recently, “without even saying goodbye to our father.” They landed in a new world that felt completely foreign but eerily familiar too, almost as if it had been imprinted on her dreams. “I remember the sunlight streaming through the windows,” Markosian said. “All the palm trees. We walked through the airport, and everyone was smiling and wearing Disney hats, and shorts and sneakers, and eating hamburgers. My mother wore a white eyelet dress, and she was holding a picture of this older man. I’d…