Posts Tagged ‘Harry Callahan’

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

Notable: PHotoEspaña 2013 H. Callahan & E. Weston, Le Journal de la Photographie

In Art Fair, Article, Black and White Photography, Photographer on June 7, 2013 at 12:24 pm


Edward Weston, Nude, 1936

For great coverage of PHotoEspana events it pays to subscribe to Le Journal de la Photographie:

Harry Callahan (1912-1999) and Edward Weston (1886-1958) are two of the great American masters of photography. Both developed intense and long careers in which they dealt amply with the nude. The exhibition He, She, It features a selection of eighty pieces that moves away from the topics of erotic photography.

Unlike those pieces that seek to induce desire through the image, the work of Weston and Callahan transforms desires into images. Both artists love their models, who are their own wives or lovers. The pictures become an erotic expression filled with subjectivity and affection; hence, the act of shooting the photos is similar to lovemaking, as it entails a connection with the loved one through vision.

For more : Le Journal

On Site: 60 From the 60’s: Selections from the George Eastman House, 1285 Avenue of the Americas Gallery, NYC

In Black and White Photography, Exhibits on February 3, 2011 at 5:11 pm


Benedict J. Fernandez “DISSENTERS”

One of the key times in modern photography, as in many other aspects of modernity, resides in “The Sixties”. An exhibit from this famous era is now in a public space and available to you for an unusual viewing experience.

This exhibit can be found in New York across from the Rockefeller complex at the non-descript lobby of 1285 Avenue of the Americas. Arrayed in the cold, uninviting atmosphere of a large set of lobby pillars is wonderful photography by renowned artists of the time. Our favorites included work by Mary Ellen Mark, Hollis Frampton, Gary Winogrand and Harry Callahan. Our favorites were two prints from a Chicago series by Aaron Siskind.

The exhibition of 60 prints features 10 of the most significant photographers from the 1960s, a decade that saw many new photography styles – collage, street photography, and photojournalism coverage of riots. “60 from the 60s: Selections from George Eastman House” offers a dynamic look at photography of the era. The exhibition is on view in the 1285 Avenue of the Americas Art Gallery, created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 42-story building in which the gallery is housed. The exhibition features the work of photographers who were just beginning to create a name for themselves in the 1960s, as well as established artists then in the midst of successful careers.

Through Feb. 18, 2011

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