Posts Tagged ‘Edward Steichen’

Profiles in Black & White: Edward Steichen

In Article, Black and White Photography, Photo Print Collector, Photographer on September 30, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I knew, of course, that trees and plants had roots, stems, bark, branches and foliage that reached up toward the light. But I was coming to realize that the real magician was light itself.”

-Edward Steichen

Edward Steichen photographed by Don Hogan Charles of the New York Times

Edward Steichen,  by Don Hogan Charles/New York Times

If there were ever a photographer to be coined a natural, the labeler would be hard pressed to argue against Edward Steichen. Success followed him in every venture that he made in the field. He experienced a career not only in the artistic medium, but fashion/advertising, portraiture, nature and even combat photography. At one point, he was known as the highest paid photographer in the world. And when he switched to filming, he won an Academy Award for The Fighting Lady. The Museum of Modern Art in New York would tap him to be their Director of the Department of Photography after World War II, a position he would keep until 1962.

Raised primarily in Milwaukee but born in Luxembourg in 1879, Steichen’s cultivation as an artist originally began as a lithography apprentice at the age of 15. The apprenticeship would allow him to practice his painting and drawing skills. Near his place of work, a camera shop would persistently pique his fancy. Eventually, he caved and rationalized the purchase of his first camera, a second hand Kodak box camera. Read the rest of this entry »

Profiles in Black&White: Harry Callahan

In Black and White Photography, Photo Print Collector, Photographer on September 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there are no guarantees that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters.”  

Harry Callahan    


Harry Callahan was a product of the Motor City, Detroit, MI, in 1912. Like many of his neighbors, he initially sought work in an auto plant for Chrysler. After a brief foray into the world of engineering at Michigan State University, he would drop out and return to Chrysler once more. This time, he joined the company’s camera club. It was about 1938 when Callahan started to teach himself how to photograph. After attending an Ansel Adams lecture in 1941, he was inspired to pursue a career in art.

Callahan is a bit of a mystery in comparison to many of his contemporaries. Their pictures might carry numerous messages or explanations to tag along to their work. Less is known about Callahan. He was prone roaming the streets of his city and take numerous photos of whatever caught his eye; this trended through his life in Detroit, then Chicago –he was asked to join the faculty at the Institute of Design in 1946 – and through to Providence, where he established the photography department at Rhode Island School of design. Of the few that he produced final images of, he rarely, if ever, explicated them. Callahan was often experimenting with new ways to produce a photo. A photo might be double or triple exposed, blurred, or use either large or small format film. He also dabbled in the use of color film. Many of his photos would experiment with abstraction as well, reflecting upon life’s experiences.

One thing that was unequivocal was who his muse was. Eleanor Callahan met on Harry on a blind date in 1933 and three years later they were married. After the Ansel Adams lecture, Harry would photograph Eleanor for decades.

             “He just liked to take pictures of me,” she told an interviewer in 2008, according to the New York Times. “In every pose. Rain or shine. And whatever I was doing. If I was doing the dishes or if I was half asleep. And he knew that I never, never said no. I was always there for him. Because I knew that Harry would only do the right thing.”

When their lone child, Barbara, was born, she became a second subject for Callahan. Many of the images would symbolize a familial tenderness.

Callahan would be awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1996. He would die three years later in Atlanta, Georgia.

Examples of Callahan’s work can be found: Harry Callahan

On Site: Photographic Treasures from the Collection of Alfred Stieglitz, The Met, NYC

In Art Museum, Black and White Photography, Exhibits on October 28, 2011 at 2:46 pm


Clarence H. White , “Nude”

Along with an exhibition of paintings from the Stieglitz personal collection, The Met currently has a wonderful turn of the century survey of photography, also from his personal collection. The exhibit  presents some forty-eight photographic treasures by Anne Brigman, Alvin Langdon Coburn, F. Holland Day, Gertrude Käsebier, Joseph Keiley, Heinrich Kühn, Edward Steichen, Clarence White, and others.

A towering figure in early twentieth-century photography, Alfred Stieglitz was not only a master of the medium, but also a powerful tastemaker and tireless advocate for photography as a fine art in the early 1900s. Through his sumptuous and influential journal Camera Work (1902-1917) and his "Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession" (1905-1917), known to insiders simply as "291" for its address on Fifth Avenue, Stieglitz introduced the public to the best of artistic photography and, eventually, modern art. He was also his gallery’s best client, supporting the artists he most admired by purchasing their work. Stieglitz’s photography collection, donated to the Metropolitan by gift in 1933 and bequest following his death in 1946, constitutes the finest gathering of Photo-Secession works anywhere.

October 11, 2011-February 26, 2012

For more information: The Met

Notable: Joanna Taub Steichen, After Swimming Pool Fall, Dies at Age 77

In Black and White Photography, Gallerist, Photographer on August 25, 2010 at 3:14 am


From her book “Steichen’s Legacy”

We received a very nice tribute notice from the Howard Greenberg Gallery on the passing of their special friend of many years, Joanna Steichen, wife of the famed photographer. Their notice is reproduced in part below:

It is with great sadness that we send this release about Joanna Steichen. She was an extraordinary woman.
Joanna Taub Steichen, 77, psychotherapist and writer, who became the editor, curator and manager of the work of her late husband, the eminent photographer Edward Steichen, died accidentally after a fall in the swimming pool at her summer home in Montauk, New York on July 24, 2010.

Joanna Taub was born in Greenpoint Brooklyn in 1933, educated at St. Agnes Episcopal School for Girls in Albany and graduated from Smith College in 1954. Her first job after graduation was as a copywriter for Young & Rubicam in NYC where she was introduced to world-renowned photographer Edward Steichen by his brother-in-law, the poet Carl Sandburg. The infatuation was instant and mutual.

In 1960, they married. She was 27. He was 80. After her husband’s death in 1973, Mrs. Steichen earned a masters degree in social work from Columbia University and spent her professional life as a psychotherapist in private practice.

Joanna Steichen was the guardian and gatekeeper of Steichen’s work and his legacy. In 1979, the centenary of Steichen’s birth, she announced an initial gift of 5,000 negatives and prints to the George Eastman House, even though Steichen had been the first director of the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art and creator there of the most successful photography exhibit in history, The Family of Man.

We appreciate her support for the arts, as well as her charity work …

Severo Antonelli at the Woodmere Museum

In Art Museum, Black and White Photography, Exhibits on January 2, 2010 at 1:14 pm

The Vixen
Silver print

Tomorrow is the last day for a special exhibit taken from the Woodmere Museum treasure trove of over 100 prints created by famed Philadelphia photographer Severo Antonelli.

We were impressed with the balcony presentation of the exhibit which sweeps the 3rd floor curved walls of the Woodmere. The commercial and fine art photos span a number of years with stylistic consistency.

The print quality is excellent allowing for luminous treatment of the light shaping employed by Antonelli. Certainly, reminding us of the excellent Edward Steichen exhibit at ICP in New York last year. See Steichen at ICP 2009.

While at the Woodmere make sure to view the Emmet Gowen photo series “Ground Zero” at their Triennial of Contemporary Photography.

The Woodmere Museum is located in Chestnut Hill,Philadelphia. The locale and quaint town are worth a Sunday drive.

Woodmere Museum