Exhibitions photo
Seth Wescott

Final Cross – Mens Snowboard

Snowboard cross gold medalist Seth Wescott at the 2006 Turin games. EOS-1D Mark II and EF 70–200mm f/2.8; 1/1000 sec at f/4.5, ISO 200.

Each year, Aperture hosts a Summer Open, an open-submission exhibition focusing on a central theme that changes annually. For the summer of 2016, the theme was Photography is Magic, named after Charlotte Cotton’s book of the same title, published by Aperture in 2015.

Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte

Olympics Day 6 – Swimming

Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte race at the 2012 London games. Canon EOS-1D X and EF 70–200mm f/2.8L IS II; 1/2000 sec at f/3.5, ISO 2000.

“Photography is Magic is an intentionally optimistic statement about the current state of contemporary photographic practice,” Cotton tells American Photo. “The project is my attempt to look at an exciting direction that artists are driving.”


Olympics Day 9 – Swimming

Phelps greets his mom and sisters after winning his eighth gold medal at the 2008 Beijing games. EOS-1D Mark III and EF 70–200mm f/2.8; 1/250 sec at f/3.5, ISO 1000.

Cotton curated the exhibit, sorting through nearly 600 submissions in order to handpick works that exemplify her vision. “I was looking for works where I either knew or sensed the photographer was on a roll—totally on top of their project and clearly focused on the visual and magical experience they are providing to the viewer,” she says.

Julia Pakhalina and Anastasia Pozdnyak-ova

Olympics Day 2 – Diving

Julia Pakhalina and Anastasia Pozdnyak-ova at the Beijing games. Remotely fired EOS-1D Mark III and EF 70–200mm f/2.8L; 1/1250 sec at f/3.2, ISO 1000.

The works are playful, imaginative and adventurous, playing with the concept of photography whether through subject matter or technique. While the works vary aesthetically, they cohesively embody a lighthearted and experimental view on photography.

© Junsheng Zhou
Representation of a refused negative film, 2014 © Junsheng Zhou

“There are definitely groupings or constellations of works on each wall,” Cotton says of the exhibition’s arrangement. “I was putting together sequences where I felt there was an albeit oblique connection and visual conversation between artists’ practices.”

Britta Heidemann

Olympics Day 3 – Fencing

Britta Heidemann of Germany in the women’s fencing semifinals at the London games. 1D X with EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II; 1/2000 sec at f/3.5, 3200.

The works, while whimsical, do demand a certain level of concentration to discern what is really happening within the scene. This illusory effect then gives the viewer a very similar experience to watching a magician perform, and attempting to decode each trick.

Sadio Mane

Olympics Day 8 – Men’s Football Q/F – Match 26 – Mexico v Senegal

Sadio Mane of Senegal tries to get past Israel Jimenez of Mexico in soccer quarterfinals in London. Same camera and lens; 1/1250 sec at f/3.2, ISO 1250.

“It’s the kind of exhibition that narrates a critical mass of contemporary practice,” says Cotton. “I hope it creates a joyful meditation on some of what I consider to be the most impactful trains of thought and ways of working that artists are activating today.”


Olympics Day 16 – Athletics

Marathoners pass London’s Palace of Westminster in 2012. Canon EOS-1D and EF 24–105mm f/4L IS; 1/40 sec at f/22, ISO 100.
Andreas Linger and Wolfgang Linger

OLY M Doubles Luge X

Andreas Linger and Wolfgang Linger of Austria at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games. Nikon D1H and 80–200mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens; 1/160 sec at f/22, ISO 200.
Getty Images Olympics Photographer

Olympics Day 5 – Gymnastics – Artistic

Shaw captured Claudio Capelli of Switzerland on the horizontal bar at the 2012 Olympic Games in London with a Canon EOS-1D X and EF 16–35mm f/2.8L II lens, exposing for 1/320 sec at f/18, ISO 8000.