“Photographs can abet desire in the most direct, utilitarian way,” Susan Sontag observed. Hers was a reference to more prurient activities, but she also allowed that desire could be abstract, something more slippery. The compulsion to want—or, in today’s parlance, to manifest—emerges throughout Aperture’s winter 2023 issue, “Desire,” as both an impulse and a state of mind.
“Desire” includes an expansive interview with Juergen Teller, whose photographs upend fashion’s vocabulary of glamour and aspiration, trading conventional beauty for the more peculiar. Artists such as Nakeya Brown, Jonathas de Andrade, Nabil Harb, Oto Gillen, and Marcelo Gomes consider what it means to put one’s own body on display, to break from long-standing customs, to be seduced by raw beauty found in nature or in uncanny artifice. Histories are conjured through evocative personal objects in the work of Ishiuchi Miyako, who for decades has created beguiling images that in two dimensions are at once surreal and surprisingly physical. In “Desire,” photographers render reality as unearthly—and take the viewer somewhere else altogether.