‘Guiding light’ in photography: New York gala celebrates 70 years of Aperture

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NEW YORK — On Monday evening, photography luminaries will gather in Chelsea to celebrate the 70th anniversary of a non-profit organization called Aperture.

The name refers to the adjustable aperture through which light passes to make a photograph, but the value of this group in 2022 comes from the way the group nurtures talented young photographers like Tommy Kha.

At Higher Pictures, a Brooklyn gallery located in the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge, Kha focuses on the future of photography; and it won it Aperture’s Next Step award.

“It means a lot to be recognized to confirm that everything I do has been seen in one way or another,” said the photographer.

Kha grew up in Memphis, Tennessee – the son of immigrants from Vietnam.

“We had a hard time growing up,” he said, adding that there were times in elementary school when classmates and teachers “commented on my accent and facial features.” , which made him “feel really different”.

Kha put what he felt into his work. Many of his giant photographs feature his mother, and they caught the eye of Aperture, of which Sarah Meister is executive director.

“Aperture has been connecting people through photography for 70 years,” Meister noted, and she emphasized that a big part of that mission is to encourage diversity.

In a presentation for Monday night’s gala, Aperture Trustee Kwame S. Brathwaite calls the organization a guide to “finding voices that need to be amplified and ensuring they have a platform and a place.” to express oneself”.

The brief video shows how a group of famous photographers, including Ansel Adams, came together 70 years ago to publish a magazine.

The organization helped make photography a fine art and quickly expanded to mount exhibitions and publish books.

Today, these outlets are used to nurture the next generation of artists, Meister said.

“The idea of ​​the Next Step Award is to give artists at emerging stages of their careers the opportunity to work with us,” she said.

This means that Tommy Kha will have his own book and his own exhibition at the Baxter Street Camera Club.

The idea is to propel Kha to the next level of his career because, as Meister explained, “one of the most important things we can do is support and elevate the voices of artists who otherwise , would perhaps not be heard”.

This will help ensure Opening can last another 70 years.

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