Yahoo! News Photo Staff

'Crossings' — perspectives on transition and transformation in photography

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“Crossings” brings together a selection of over 100 images by international artists to explore perspectives on transition and transformation in photography.

Magnum Photos and Aperture have a long-standing shared history, spanning many collaborations on publications and events through the decades. For the second time, Magnum Photos has invited a roster of artists published by Aperture to participate in the project, alongside Magnum’s own photographers, to visually explore a common theme through both classic and contemporary artistic practices.

The project creates an unprecedented visual dialogue, spanning depictions of physical crossings from one side to another — a road, a river, a border, an ocean — and the personal crossings that manifest in growth, revolt, mutation and self-realization, the voyages of the mind that have the power to spark change and transformation.

Shared themes emerge across the images, from an examination of contemporary shifts in our understanding of selfhood and identity to more macroscopic topics such as migration. In this way, “Crossings” asks both literal and metaphorical questions about the human ability to move, transform and build connections.

The resulting selection of works is at the crossroads of documentary and conceptual practices. Celebrating the singular authorship of each artist, the curation encapsulates the diversity of practices found within photography. Spanning decades of artistic production, “Crossings” is a testament to the major visual and thematic threads that, together, create our visual culture.

Magnum Photos was founded in Paris in 1947 as an artists’ co-operative by four pioneering photographers, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, David “Chim” Seymour and George Rodger. The legendary photo agency continues to shape photographic practice and maintains its original values of uncompromising excellence, truth, respect and independence, representing an idiosyncratic mix of journalist, artist and storyteller. Magnum photographers share a vision to chronicle world events, people, places and culture with a powerful narrative that defies convention, shatters the status quo, redefines history and transforms lives.

Aperture is the world’s leading not-for-profit photography publisher. Founded in 1952 by photographers and writers including Minor White, Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams and Beaumont Newhall to serve as “common ground for the advancement of photography,” Aperture magazine — continuously published for 66 years — and the foundation’s program of artists’ and other books, and exhibition and education programs, have shaped our understanding and appreciation of the art and language of photography ever since. Aperture identifies and promotes the key voices defining new directions — the first to publish books by Diane Arbus, Sally Mann and Nan Goldin, among many others — while advocating photographers’ contributions to culture and society.

The “Crossings” exhibition at the Aperture Gallery and Magnum’s Square Print Sale in Partnership with Aperture runs from 9 a.m. Oct. 29 until midnight ET Friday, Nov. 2.  Signed and estate stamped, museum quality, 6×6-inch prints from over 100 artists will be available for $100 during this time from Magnum Photos Shop. Aperture’s participation in this Square Print Sale serves as a fundraiser for the institution’s nonprofit work, launched to coincide with its Oct. 30 “Family” New York City gala benefit.

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Hands, a symbol of good luck, on a wall in Essaouira, Morocco, 1985. “Leaving their mark in every land they conquered, Muslim Arabs surged out of the Middle East into North Africa in the seventh century A.D., crossing the Strait of Gibraltar into the Iberian Peninsula. Known as Moors, they ruled in Spain for almost 800 years — until 1492, when they were ousted by their Catholic Majesties Ferdinand and Isabella. The Moors left behind a cultural legacy still evident in both Spain and Morocco, where palm prints decorate a wall in the harbor town of Essaouira.” —Thomas J. Abercrombie, “When the Moors Ruled Spain,” National Geographic, July 1988. (Photograph © Bruno Barbey/Magnum Photos)


Birds on the post, highway to Guanajuato, Mexico, 1990. “I was in my car on the highway to Guanajuato, and suddenly I saw this flock of birds. I love birds, for me they represent freedom.” (Quote and photograph © Graciela Iturbide courtesy Aperture)


Behind the Walls #06, 2011. “Traveling musicians passed through the streets of the city where I lived between Christmas and New Year’s Eve when I was a child in the mid ’70s. We ran to the balcony and threw coins to them. I remember one of these musicians had an old black hat with wide flaps. When we gave him coins he used to bow, take off his hat and make a beautiful movement with his arm while winking at my grandmother.” (Quote and photograph © Paolo Ventura courtesy Aperture)


The Ministry of Health building, designed by architect Lúcio Costa’s team, including Oscar Niemeyer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1960. “Go and discover for yourself, because the fantastic thing about photography is that you are able to freeze a moment that can never come back.” (Photograph © Rene Burri/Magnum Photos)


Untitled (Twins), Brooklyn, New York City, 2016. “This image was shot in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn. I set out with an image in my head of black masculine freedom emanating from the pictures. And specifically, a fictional image of black men having a full and free range of expression. This started with adorning these two twins, Torey and Khorey, in pearls, fabrics, and natural light to create a world where documentary and fantasy intersect.” (Quote and photography © Tyler Mitchell courtesy Aperture)


Third Avenue El, New York, 1955. “œIn the early ’50s, the boy could have a private view of Manhattan from the elevated Third Ave El train for only a dime. With the passage of time, the fare has gone up and the El has gone down. The boy, presumably, grew up.€” (Quote and photograph © Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos)


Tijuana, Mexico, 1995. “œI’ve long been fascinated by the transience and paradoxes of the U.S.-Mexico border. Between 1975 and 2001, I crossed the border numerous times, photographing this unique region to try to make sense of it. Even though these two countries were culturally worlds apart, it sometimes seemed that the border region was a kind of third country between them — 2,000 miles long and 10 miles wide, a place where two countries meet, sometimes easily, sometimes roughly, and often with a confounding note of surrealism. Looking back, I realize that ‘Crossings’ (2003), the book I made from this work, reflects the last days of a more porous border between the United States and Mexico, so different from today’s militarized border.<br />In 1995, while walking through the outskirts of Tijuana, I was surprised to find this box of brightly colored shoes, which seemed so out of place on this dusty, isolated embankment. I looked around for some kind of explanation. Was there a market here earlier — and these shoes left behind? Had women exchanged these high heels for more comfortable footwear, before heading to work in a nearby maquiladora? Or had the shoe vendor simply left during the hottest time of the day? In my bad Spanish, I asked a passerby if he knew. The old man just shrugged his shoulders.<br />To this day, this surreal scene remains a mystery.” (Quote and photograph © Alex Webb/Magnum Photos)


Backseat of a car. From the series, “œBrooklyn Gang,” New York City, 1959. “You’re looking at Lefty and his girlfriend, members of a Brooklyn gang who referred to themselves as ‘the Jokers,’ on a trip to Bear Mountain State Park. This photograph is not meant to be risqué. These were young, teenage kids who had a great deal of spirit, energy and love in lives that were reckless, unstable and oftentimes dangerous. In the words of Pauley, who was a friend of gang member Bengie, ‘We didn’t come from dysfunctional families, the whole neighborhood was dysfunctional.’<br />At the time, I thought it was a little strange to be photographing the Jokers on the way to a state park, a trip sponsored by the Youth Board. The gang was completely out of their element. No mean streets, not a worry on their minds, just time to explore themselves and their surroundings. They were free, and it was captivating.” (Quote and photograph © Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos)


American soldiers landing on Omaha Beach, D-Day, Normandy, France, June 6, 1944. “€œThe water was cold, and the beach still more than a hundred yards away. The bullets tore holes in the water around me, and I made for the nearest steel obstacle… It was still very early and very gray for good pictures, but the gray water and the gray sky made the little men, dodging under the surrealistic designs of Hitler’s anti-invasion brain trust, very effective.” €(Quote and photograph © Robert Capa/ International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos)


Crossing in the Ginza district, Tokyo, Japan, 1996. “Since my first trip to Tokyo in 1996, I have always been fascinated by Japan; it’™s so different from China or Korea. The attitude of the people is distinctive. You have an incredible sense of security: School children take the metro by themselves; you have the feeling you could leave your camera in a restaurant or a phone booth and would still find it there when you came back a few days later. There is also such a sense of discipline, like at this crossing where everybody waits patiently for the light to change before moving forward. Something else about Japan: nobody looks at you. It’s paradise for a photographer, but after a while you wonder if you still exist.” (Quote and photograph © Harry Gruyaert/Magnum Photos)


The Beatles in EMI Recording Studios, later renamed Abbey Road Studios, London, 1964. “œIn 1964, I was asked by a friend, who was about to direct the first Beatles film ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ (Dick Lester), to photograph the film, not for press, but more from a sociological point of view. In 1963, the Beatles had gained unprecedented fame and status. It could be argued that their only next step could either be down, or to individually go in new directions. They were at crossroads in their respective careers, and yet had already transformed the music industry. Sometimes people don’t realize the magnitude of their own achievements; they are clueless to the boundaries they have already crossed to get where they are. My picture shows the four members studying pages of the script for the following days of the film’s shooting. It takes place in the Abbey Road Studio, the scene of so many of their musical triumphs. I cannot help but wonder if they were thinking of their futures. The Beatles gave their last concert only two years after this film was released.” (Quote and photograph © David Hurn/Magnum Photos)


Procession of nuns. Yangon, Myanmar, 1994. “I asked a group of Buddhist nuns if I could follow them as they carried their alms bowls during their rounds through the streets of Yangon, Myanmar. They gather alms and food from local people who donate in order to demonstrate their humility and connection with their Buddhist faith.” (Quote and photograph © Steve McCurry/Magnum Photos)


Great Salt Lake, Utah, 2016. “€œI made this picture in 2016, on the north arm of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. This part of the lake stopped receiving fresh water over 50 years ago, when the Southern Pacific Railroad built a causeway that split it in two and made the upper half incredibly saline, a haven for a red algae called Dunaliella salina. A couple months after I was there, a bridge was constructed that allowed the water in the upper portion of the lake to start mixing with the fresher water in the lower lake, where another species of algae tints the water green.<br />It is a picture of man in nature that feels strikingly unnatural; the natural order is askew. Humans will force the two species of algae to meet, coexist, fight for dominance, evolve, die off.”€ (Quote and photograph © Carolyn Drake/Magnum Photos)


Del Rio, Texas, 2011. “‘A fissured, empty, almost lunar landscape €“seen from a bird’s-eye view. The camera hovers over it.’ So begins Sam Shepard’s script for one of my all-time favorite films: ‘Paris, Texas,’ by Wim Wenders.<br />“I thought of this scene often while photographing from the rooftop of an RV in the border town of Del Rio, Texas. I also thought of the opening lines of dialogue in ‘Paris, Texas.’ ‘Do you know which side of the border you’re on?’ Looking at the otherworldly landscape from above, this question seems more metaphorical than geographic. The border I’€™m most interested in crossing is the one between ordinarily life and dreams.” (Quote and photography © Alec Soth/Magnum Photos)


Ferry between Helsinki and Stockholm, 1991. “In the early ’80s, I was teaching in Helsinki and would often go to Stockholm for the weekend on the ferry. This would involve buying cheap alcohol and consuming it en route. The Finnish love a sauna, and this guy is popping out to catch the cool.” (Quote and photograph © Martin Parr/Magnum Photos)