15 Photographers Reveal What’s Hidden in Their Work

What does a photographer see that is otherwise hidden?

Since its beginnings, photography has functioned in part as a vehicle for showing what is neither accessible nor visible to most of us. It also has the power to shed light on the things around us that are otherwise overlooked—from remote societies to elite fraternities, isolated places to objects so common we don’t even stop to look at them. From Daidō Moriyama to Susan Meiselas, Aperture and Magnum photographers have long demonstrated how photographs can reveal hidden things, places, and lives.

This week, for five days only, collect signed or estate-stamped, museum-quality, 6-by-6-inch prints by over 120 acclaimed Aperture and Magnum photographers for $100 each. Use this link to make your purchase, and a percentage of each sale will support Aperture Foundation.

Black and white photograph of figure with hands in shape of heart

Jacob Aue Sobol, Sabine, Eastern Greenland, 2000
© Jacob Aue Sobol/Magnum Photos

Jacob Aue Sobol

“I’m in love with Sabine but I can’t talk to her about it. The locals don’t want us to be together. When I said I couldn’t visit her she became sad. It rained that night—unusual for March. I was lying on my mattress in the attic when I heard footsteps in the snow outside the window. I looked out without switching the light on. Sabine was down there looking up at my window. Had she seen me? I crawled back under the duvet and waited. Half an hour passed. Maybe I hadn’t heard her leave? I looked out of the window again. Sabine, drenched, was still standing there looking up at my window. I switched on the light and waved. That night we spent hours walking around in the rain together.” —Jacob aue Sobol, Sabine (self-published 2004)

Color photograph of two children with backs turned facing a stream of light

Gregory Crewdson, Untitled production still from “An Eclipse of Moths,” 2018
© Gregory Crewdson

Gregory Crewdson

“Two boys are framed by the open door of a mechanic’s garage. They are hidden among cinematic lights and haze, awaiting their moment on set.” —Gregory Crewdson

Elliott Erwitt, Paris, France

Elliott Erwitt, Paris, France, 1989
© Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos

Elliott Erwitt

“Why is our mysterious jumper jumping? Well…Because I asked him to!” —Elliott Erwitt

Leonard Freedman, black and white potrait

Leonard Freed, New York City, New York, USA, 1963
© Leonard Freed/Magnum Photos

Leonard Freed

“Basically there are informational photographs and emotional photographs. I don’t take informational photographs. I am not a journalist. I am an author. I am not interested in facts. I want a photograph you can take out of context and put on your wall to read like a poem.” —Leonard Freed (Worldview, Steidl 2007)

Nan Goldin, Sunny at the spa, distortion

Nan Goldin, Sunny at the spa, distortion, L’Hotel, Paris, 2010
© Nan Goldin

Nan Goldin

“The intimacy between [Sunny and I] allowed the camera the freedom to access the magic. My favorite photos of mine are the mistakes.” —Nan Goldin

Bob Gruen, black and white photograph

Bob Gruen, Joe Strummer & Gaby, New York City, USA, 1981
© Bob Gruen

Bob Gruen

“Sometimes people create their own private place with each other and let the world go by. We see them, but they only see each other.” —Bob Gruen

Todd Hido, color photograph of light coming out of garage windows

Todd Hido, #7851, 2008
© Todd Hido

Todd Hido

“I drive, I drive a lot.
People ask me how I find my pictures. I tell them I drive around. I drive and drive and I mostly don’t find anything that is interesting to me. But then, something calls out. Something that looks sort of off, or maybe an empty space. Sometimes it’s a sad scene. I like that kind of stuff. I remember this foggy night, wondering about the hidden world behind the frosted glass of the garage door. Did somebody just leave the light on? Or is there a whole world of activity going on in the middle of the night out in the garage under the veil of the fog? And so I keep driving and looking and taking pictures.” —Todd Hido

Justine Kurland, three girls sitting in field eating ice cream

Justine Kurland, Dairy Queen, 2000
© Justine Kurland

Justine Kurland

“I wanted to make the invisible communion between girls visible, foregrounding their experience as primary and irrefutable. I imagined a world in which acts of solidarity between girls would engender even more girls—they would multiply through the sheer force of togetherness and lay claim to a new territory. Their collective awakening would ignite and spread through suburbs and schoolyards, calling to clusters of girls camped on stoops and the hoods of cars, or aimlessly wandering the neighborhoods where they lived.” —Justine Kurland

Susan Meiselas, color portrait of figure in mask

Susan Meiselas, Traditional Indian dance mask from the town of Monimbó, adopted by the rebels during the fight against Somoza to conceal identity, Nicaragua, 1978
© Susan Meiselas/Magnum Photos

Susan Meiselas

The Mask
“A mask, not to hide but to disguise
to draw on a past
to create a future.
Traditionally for folkloric dance, reclaimed by rebels—once
to bring down a dictatorship, now used to face a new fight.” 
—Susan Meiselas

Joel Meyerowitz, Provincetown, Massachusetts

Joel Meyerowitz, Provincetown, Massachusetts, 1976
© Joel Meyerowitz, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

Joel Meyerowitz

“This photograph could be the opening line of a joke: ‘So, a girl rides up to a bar on a horse …’ But really what happened was that I was there getting some ice cream for my kids when this girl rode up to the window on her horse and ordered two lobster rolls and some fries; as soon as I saw the girl, the horse, and the ice cream sign, I saw the photograph. My 8×10 was always with me then, and in less time than it took to get the lobster rolls, I made the photograph.” —Joel Meyerowitz

Daido Moriyama, Farerwell Photography

Daidō Moriyama, Farewell Photography, 1972
© Daidō Moriyama Photo Foundation

Daidō Moriyama

“This self-portrait is from my photobook from 1972, Farewell Photography. I wouldn’t be able to take this kind of photo nowadays, because it is a photo that represents the feelings I had at that time.” —Daidō Moriyama

W. Eugene Smith, Dream Street

W. Eugene Smith, Dream Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, 1955
© W. Eugene Smith/Magnum Photos

W. Eugene Smith

“Like many other symbols of a bygone era, the actual Dream Street has vanished over time and is no longer recognizable in Pittsburgh. Yet the image remains more relevant than ever. As Smith himself wrote, ‘The one full freedom is man’s right to dream. No government of whatever nature, no tyranny, no circumstance can remove possession of this right.’”—Kevin Smith, W. Eugene Smith Estate

Alec Soth, New Orleans

Alec Soth, New Orleans, 2018
© Alec Soth/Magnum Photos

Alec Soth

“When I was a boy, I used to pretend my little bed was a one-man spaceship. It was a place to simultaneously explore my dreams and hide from the world. In some ways that’s how I now think of my camera.” —Alec Soth

Dustin Thierry, Black and white portrait

Dustin Thierry, Thaynah Vineyard at the “We Are The Future—And The Future Is Fluid” ball organized by Legendary Marina 007 and Mother Amber Vineyard, Body painting by visual artist Airich, Amsterdam, 2018
© Dustin Thierry

Dustin Thierry

“My current project Opulence is an ode to my late brother, and all people of Afro-Caribbean descent who still are not free to live and express their sexuality to its fullest. To this day, homosexuality is strongly stigmatized and condemned within the Caribbean community. In addition, Black people from the former colonies and the Caribbean islands in the Netherlands are increasingly racialized and objectified. This project seeks to break out of this dichotomy by portraying subjects in unadorned, raw yet graceful portraits.” —Dustin Thierry

William Wegman, False Eyes

William Wegman, False Eyes, 2019
© William Wegman

William Wegman

“If there are aliens, what might they look like? To address that question, I collected a selection of props and my dog, Flo. Among the props was a package of false eyelashes, and after several failed attempts to stick them on, I gave up. Fortunately, the packaging was even more arresting than the actual product, so I cut off the part with the eyes and stuck them on Flo. Hiding behind these paper eyes, Flo could still keep one eye on me, and so I had three eyes watching me. Maybe that is what an alien looks like.” —William Wegman

For five days only, collect signed or estate-stamped, museum-quality, 6-by-6-inch prints by over 120 acclaimed Aperture and Magnum photographers for $100 each. Use this link to make your purchase, and a percentage of each sale will support Aperture Foundation. Sale ends Friday, November 1, midnight EST.