Aperture, a magazine and book publisher that is also a nonprofit foundation and international resource for fine photography, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in a big way. The small house, founded by such photographic luminaries as Minor White, Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams, will mark the occasion with a series of exhibitions at 50 public sites around New York; a big book published just for the occasion; and a blockbuster photo exhibition at Sotheby's in New York City.
Andrea Smith, Aperture's director of publicity, said the house has published a special double issue of Aperture magazine, as well as Photography Past Forward: Aperture at 50, an oversized book with more than 250 images taken over the last half century. The book will serve as the catalogue for a giant exhibition at Sotheby's that will open in January. And at that show, the house will present the first annual Michael Hoffman Award for lifetime achievement to legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson at a gala party chaired by Elton John. Hoffman was Aperture's executive director from 1965 until his death in 2001.
Robert Morton, who was named editor-in-chief of Aperture's book program earlier this year, told PW he wants to expand Aperture's publishing program from about 10 books a year to between 20 to 25 titles annually. He wants the program to be "more self-sustaining. But we'll continue to do edgy, forward-looking titles." The small house doesn't pay large advances, but manages to attract the most famous photographers in the world, said Morton, "with our history, our mission, our quality and design. We're always seeking out the best photographers, but, thank heavens, they also come looking for us."
Aperture books have been distributed by Farrar, Straus & Giroux for many years. It has an active backlist of about 150 to 200 titles, including the Masters of Photography series, in print for decades, which includes titles by Man Ray, Berenice Abbott, Cartier-Bresson and 15 other legendary artists.
Aperture has its own bookstore and gallery at its 23rd Street offices in Manhattan. Its Web site (www.aperture.org) has been redesigned, and Aperture books can be purchased through the site.