Aperture Magazine

The magazine of photography and ideas

Aperture Matters: Christopher Kurtz

Sculptor Christopher Kurtz reflects on the early influence of Aperture magazine on his life and career.

 - November 12, 2013

Members of the photography community and beyond reflect on the role that Aperture’s magazine, books, and educational programs have played in their lives.

Image courtesy Christopher Kurtz, © Kirstie Tweed

As a young boy growing up in rural Missouri, the worlds of high art and design were not always accessible in the immediate landscape. However, I had the advantage of having two parents who are both artists and educators. They brought the vast world of “culture” to us, largely in the form of books and magazines.
My father subscribed to and collected Aperture magazine. I remember seeing it arrive in the mail, enclosed in its special cardboard container to protect its corners, instantly distinguished from the other mail. I always got excited when it came because it epitomized a window into something special. It was through this publication that I learned what the word “aperture” meant: my father explained that an aperture is an opening in a camera lens, but not limited to that—it could also mean a window. With clean hands, I was allowed to explore the pages of the magazine I was so intrigued by. I didn’t always understand what I was looking at, but I understood it in a primal way—drinking in all of the visual sophistication, and sometimes challenging imagery. The thickness of the paper, luscious inks, and slightly oversized format delivered the content in a powerful way that left a lasting impression on me.
I didn’t grow up to be a photographer, but I do work professionally in the fields of sculpture and studio furniture. I fondly look at Aperture as a formative object in my life—one that opened a window to the beautiful and strange world of images, and to large ideas.

Christopher Kurtz is a sculptor who lives in Accord, New York with his wife and daughter. He is represented by Hedge Gallery in San Francisco.