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Aperture Spring 2024 No. 254

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What creative possibilities are offered by the gaps, absences, and silences in historical records? This spring, Aperture magazine presents “Counter Histories,” an issue produced in collaboration with Magnum Foundation and informed by their ongoing Counter Histories grant initiative, featuring photographers from around the world who tell powerful stories about complex social and political histories.

The issue launches at Magnum Foundation in New York in conjunction with an exhibition (on view from April 3 to June 26) featuring several of the photographers featured in the magazine whose work intervenes in state image archives. A second, related exhibition, presenting Counter Histories projects responding to family archives, will be on view at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, in Kingston, New York, from March 23 to May 26.

In the “Counter Histories” issue, a global group of photographers questions dominant historical narratives to create layered portrayals of place, culture, and community. In Hong Kong, Billy H.C. Kwok collaborates with a grieving mother desperately searching for her son. In Nepal, Prasiit Sthapit investigates the complex role of musicians in the country’s Maoist insurrection. Alice Proujansky looks at her parents’ past as New Left activists in the United States, while Christopher Gregory-Rivera examines how Puerto Rican independence activists were surveilled for decades. And, in the years before Poland ousted a far-right government last fall, Agata Szymanska-Medina exposed how a nationalist party worked steadily to undermine an independent judiciary.

For these artists, family and community are as essential as politics and memory. Stories of migration from Haiti to Philadelphia inspire Naomieh Jovin’s vibrant collages honoring her elders. Cédrine Scheidig engages with legacies of the Black diaspora, tracing her relationship to Afro-Caribbean history and community in French Guiana. In the Eastern Cape of South Africa, Lindokuhle Sobekwa reflects on the movement of Black migrant labor and builds what he describes as a “family tree” of the country. And Abdo Shanan, working in Algeria, builds a speculative archive for his own generation.

Aperture, a not-for-profit foundation, connects the photo community and its audiences with the most inspiring work, the sharpest ideas, and with each other—in print, in person, and online.

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