Harry Callahan: The notable American Photographer

Harry Callahan an American photographer who is famous in contemporary photography in the US

Harry Callahan (1912 – 1999) is one of the notable and well-known American photographers of the 20th-century. He was born in Detroit, Michigan. He is mostly known for the pictures of nature and the streets. Eleanor was Harry’s wife and was served as one of the models of several portraits throughout his photography. Callahan bought his first camera in 1938. He after particularly entered into photography and continued it as his career for the next sixty years.

He pursued Chemical Engineering and Business at Michigan State University. However, he quit before completing his course and have decided to accept a job at the Chrysler Motor Parts Corporation. He never attended college and hasn’t had any academic education related to photography but he is an important figure of modern photography in the USA. Between the years 1956-1997, He had thirty-eight exhibitions at the New York Museum of Modern Art. Arthur Siegel and László Moholy-Nagy from Chicago’s Institute of Design invited him to start teaching at the department of photography. He was also the chairman of the photography department from 1961 to 1973, At the Rhode Island School of Design.

What made him the pioneer of the 20’s?

Harry Callahan always looked to have his own photography style. Undoubtedly he was an innovative photographer who took many pictures in both black-and-white and color as well. His earliest photography themes were landscapes; urban landscapes and buildings. He also took unique portraits of Eleanor and his daughter, Barbara. In fact, his photographs are a reflection of how he observed the surroundings and his life. His pictures show the varied experiences, and expressions of his time and feelings. Callahan more often applied double and triple exposures, collage, maximum contrasts. He also applied blurs, and form reduction to his photographs. Callahan’s photos are a combination of sensuality and great experimentalism.

Harry Callahan’s collages show other aspects of photography. His impressive collages are from various face cuts of magazines or cuts in shapes from black and white papers. When Kodak (Click here to read about Kodak) in 1936 introduced Kodachrome, photographers had the opportunity to create color images like black and white shots and, Callahan experimented with the color slide films as well. As a great pioneer, he not only created abstract works with conceptual ideas but also improved color photography.

Everyday life Photos, Harry Callahan.

 ''Photography is an adventure just as life is an adventure,'' said Callahan.

Harry Callahan, in his teaching age, intended to encourage students to understand photography by looking closely at their own and others’ photos to dig down more and even deeper into this concept was what he wanted. The act of discovering different subjects via the camera was what he enjoyed emphasized the most.

Double Exposure Photography, Harry Callahan.

Where to visit his amazing photographs

Harry Callahan, the famous and notable American photographer was nominated for numerous awards such as the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1972 and the National Medal of Arts in 1996. His artworks are in many museums and private collections in the USA and Europe. They are now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The High Museum, the George Eastman House, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art are also other museums for Harry Callahan’s photos. check out the Center for Creative Photography, the University of Arizona for seeing Callahan’s archive.

Credit: Samin Mousavi

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