Best Of 2006

Best Retrospective: Photography Past/Forward:Aperture at 50, Museum of Fine Arts

Minor White's "Windowsill Daydreaming"

With 156 images culled from every period of Aperture, the respected photography magazine, this traveling exhibit had so much to offer that you could wander the museum for hours and still find plenty more to absorb. The subjects and themes addressed in Aperture were as diverse as you’d expect from a retrospective exhibit drawing off 50 years of publications. Familiar images like Minor White’s “Windowsill Daydreaming,” with its curious pattern of hanging light, and Dorothea Lange’s ironic study of human dignity, “Spring in Berkeley,” were on display along with lesser-known, but no less visually compelling, works — like Eikoh Hosoe’s “Dancing in Kushiro Marsh IV,” a disturbing tribute to Japanese cranes, and “The Wedding,” Sandy Skoglund’s vivid commentary on marriage. Portraits, landscapes, photojournalistic snapshots — many genres were represented and plenty of matters addressed, from social and political issues to gender and sexuality, spirituality, the body and nature. Overall, an engaging, amazingly comprehensive exhibit.