Aperture’s 2016 Summer Open was a call for contributions to the idea of photography as a magical form. This optimistic premise attracted a diverse scope of magical contemporary approaches—from pictures found in the happenstance of everyday life to elaborate stagings of studio or desktop experiments.
The photographic practices represented in the final selection for this year’s Summer Open are rich with vitality and deep curiosity for the magical medium of photography. They share a fascination with and substantial knowledge of the historical roots and the contemporary state of photography. These artists actively play with the medium’s heritage—
re-animating and re-contextualizing its alchemical properties—to render ideas about its contemporary material value. They are astutely aware of the viewers’ perceptions and trains of thought, grounded in our shared context of an ever-expanding image world. They invite us to pay attention to the thriving possibility of photography as an experimental platform, rich with materiality and visual sleight of hand.