Readings

Harry Callahan (1912-1999) grew up in Detroit and briefly studied chemical engineering and business at Michigan State University in Lansing before taking a job at the Chrysler Motor Parts Corporation in 1936.

One of the most influential American photographers of the second half of the twentieth century, Callahan began his career as an amateur photographer. In 1938 he joined Chrysler’s Camera Club and two years later became a member of Detroit’s Photo Guild. After attending a lecture and workshop by Ansel Adams in 1941, and a meeting with Alfred Stieglitz in 1942, Callahan decided to devote his energies to photography. By 1946 he had established a strong enough reputation in the field to secure an invitation by László Moholy-Nagy, a veteran of the German Bauhaus, to teach at Chicago’s Institute of Design. The school’s experimental philosophy was formative for Callahan, who would become instrumental in introducing a vocabulary of formal abstraction into American photography at a time when descriptive realism was the dominant aesthetic. He taught a summer course at Black Mountain College in North Carolina in 1951, and eventually left the Institute in 1961 to chair the photography department at the Rhode Island School of Design. Callahan held that position until 1973 and retired from teaching altogether four years later.

Shot in both black-and-white and color, Callahan’s subjects include his wife Eleanor and daughter Barbara, nature and light studies, pedestrians in downtown Chicago, telephone lines, architecture in Providence, landscapes in Cape Cod, and scenes from his travels to such places as Great Britain, France, Japan, and Morocco. He also photographed collages he had made using images cut from such magazines as Vogue.

Since his first one-person show in 1947, Callahan’s work has been the subject of over 60 solo and group exhibitions, including retrospectives organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York (“Callahan,” 1976-77) and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (“Harry Callahan,” 1996-97). In 2006, the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson organized “Harry Callahan: The Photographer at Work” that later traveled to the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego. Most recently, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta mounted “Harry Callahan: Eleanor.” The show will travel to the Rhode Island School of Art and Design’s Museum of Art in November 2008.

Callahan was the recipient of numerous distinctions, including the Graham Foundation Grant for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts (1956); a Guggenheim Fellowship (1972); fellowship in the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Cambridge (1979); the Distinguished Career in Photography Award from the Friends of Photography, Carmel, Calif. (1981); the Brandeis Creative Arts Medal (1985); the Achievement Award from the Illinois Academy of Fine Arts, Chicago (1992); the Edward MacDowell Medal (1993); and the National Medal of Arts (1996). Callahan was chosen to represent the United States at the 1978 Venice Biennial, the first photographer to be so honored.

Callahan’s work belongs to many public and private collections here and abroad, such as the Akron Art Museum; the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the George Eastman House, Rochester; the Hallmark Photographic Collection, Kansas City, Mo.; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the National Museum of Photography, Copenhagen; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Monographs of Callahan’s work include Photographs: Harry Callahan (1964); Harry Callahan (1967); Callahan (1976); Harry Callahan: Color (1980); Water’s Edge (1980); Eleanor (1984); Harry Callahan: New Color, Photographs 1978-1987(1988); Harry Callahan (1996); Elemental Landscapes: Photographs by Harry Callahan (2001); Harry Callahan: The Photographer at Work (2006); and Harry Callahan: Eleanor (2007).

Callahan’s archive is located at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson.

Richard Misrach is one of the most influential photographers of his generation. In the 1970s, he helped pioneer the renaissance of color photography and large-scale presentation that are in widespread practice today. Best known for his ongoing series, Desert Cantos, a multi-faceted approach to the study of place and man’s complex relationship to it, he has worked in the landscape for over 40 years. The recent chapter of the series, Border Cantos, made in collaboration with the experimental composer Guillermo Galindo, explores the unseen realities of the US-Mexico borderlands. This work was exhibited at the Amon Carter Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and San Jose Museum of Art in 2016-17. Other notable bodies of work include his documentation of the industrial corridor along the Mississippi River known as “Cancer Alley”, the study of weather, time, color and light in his serial photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge, and On The Beach, an aerial perspective of human interaction and isolation.

Recent projects mark departures from his work to date. In one series, he has experimented with new advances in digital capture and printing, foregrounding the negative as an end in itself and digitally creating images with astonishing detail and color spectrum.  In another, he built a powerful narrative out of images of graffiti produced in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, made with a 4-megapixel pocket camera. In fall 2012, in collaboration with landscape architect Kate Orff, Misrach launched a major book and exhibition entitled Petrochemical America, which addresses the health and environmental issues associated with our dependency on oil.

Misrach has had one-person exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris, among others. A mid-career traveling survey was organized by the Houston Museum of Fine Arts in 1996. His photographs are held in the collections of most major institutions, including The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In fall 2010, on the five-year anniversary of Katrina, the exhibition Untitled [New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, 2005] made its debut at the New Orleans Museum of Art and was also shown at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The series, 1991—The Oakland-Berkeley Fire Aftermath, was presented in the fall of 2011 at the Berkeley Art Museum and the Oakland Museum of California, concurrently. The body of work, Revisiting the South: Richard Misrach’s Cancer Alley, was inaugurated at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, in summer 2012 and traveled to the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University in 2013. His recent series, Border Cantos, a collaboration with the composer Guillermo Galindo, was on view at San Jose Museum of Art and Amon Carter Museum of American Art in 2016, and at the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in February 2017.

Over a dozen monographs have been published on Misrach’s work, among them Telegraph 3 A.M.: The Street People of Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley; Richard Misrach:1975-1987 Bravo 20: The Bombing of the American West; Crimes and Splendors: The Desert Cantos of Richard Misrach;Violent Legacies: Three Cantos; The Sky Book;  Richard Misrach: Golden Gate; Pictures of Paintings; Chronologies; On the Beach; Destroy this Memory; 1991 —The Oakland/Berkeley Fire Aftermath; Petrochemical America; 11.21.11 5:40pm; and Richard Misrach and Guillermo Galindo | Border Cantos. He is the recipient of numerous awards in the arts including four National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2002 he was given the Kulturpreis for Lifetime Achievement in Photography by the German Society for Photography, and in 2008 the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Fine Art Photography.

 

Hiroshi Sugimoto was born in Japan in 1948. A photographer since the 1970s, his work deals with history and temporal existence by investigating themes of time, empiricism, and metaphysics. His primary series include: Seascapes, Theaters, Dioramas, Portraits (of Madame Tussaud’s wax figures), Architecture, Colors of Shadow, Conceptual Forms and Lightning Fields. Sugimoto has received a number of grants and fellowships, and his work is held in the collections of the Tate Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the Metropolitan Museum of New York, among many others. Portraits, initially created for the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin, traveled to the Guggenheim New York in March 2001. Sugimoto received the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography in 2001. In 2006, a mid career retrospective was organized by the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. A monograph entitled Hiroshi Sugimoto was produced in conjunction with the exhibition. He received the Photo España prize, also in 2006, and in 2009 was the recipient of the Paemium Imperiale, Painting Award from the Japan Arts Association. During the 2014 Venice Biennale, Sugimoto unveiled his “Glass Tea House Mondrian” at Le Stanze del Vetro on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore.

 

Elliott Erwitt (1928- ) was born in Paris to Russian émigré parents. He spent his childhood in Milan, Italy andlived briefly in Paris, before moving to Los Angeles via New York in 1939. In Hollywood his interest in photography began and he studied the subject at Los Angeles City College. In 1948 Erwitt moved to New York City and there met Edward Steichen, Robert Capa and Roy Stryker who became significant mentors. From 1948-50, Erwitt studied film at the New School for Social Research.  He spent 1949 traveling in France and Italy, and returned to the United States to begin his career as a professional photographer.  In 1951, Erwitt was drafted into the army where he continued to make photographs while stationed in Germany and France.   Back in New York after service,  Erwitt, with an invitation from Capa, became a member of Magnum Photos.  He has been a member ever since, serving several terms as president of the fabled organization.  A major figure in the highly competitive field of magazine photography,  Erwitt’s  portraits, photo essays and advertisements have been featured in periodicals around the world for the last half-century.  Over the years he has made a specialty of capturing both the famous and the ordinary, the strange and the mundane in his own unmistakable, often humorous style.  He has also been active in filmmaking since 1970, producing seventeen comedy and satire specials for Home Box Office.  The artist has also published dozens of books over the years on all aspects of his output, with a special emphasis on one of his favorite subjects, the canine.  Being an obsessive traveler has proved handy as Erwitt has had numerous exhibitions in museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Smithsonian Institution, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, Paris; and Zurich’s Kunsthaus, among others.   Erwitt is also represented by a score of important galleries around the globe.  His works are in most important museums as well as in hundreds of private collections.

 

Click below for full reading:

“On Collecting Photography”

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DEFINITIONS OF PRINT PROCESSES

Albumen Print
Prints made on paper coated with a solution of albumen (egg whites) and ammonia salt, which is then sensitized with silver nitrate and printed. Usually toned with chloride of gold. Popular 1850-1890.

Carbon Print
The carbon process is a permanent, non-silver process. The most popular version was J.W Swan’s, introduced in 1864. A tissue, coated with pigmented gelatin, is exposed under a negative. The exposed gelatin hardens and becomes insoluble in water. The tissue is then backed with a transfer sheet on the gelatin side and washed, which removes the original tissue and the unhardened gelatin. A positive relief image is produced, which is then transferred to a paper support. Carbon images were also transferred onto a variety of supports, including ceramic, glass, and metal. Popular 1870-1910.
They are often indistinguishable from the photomechanical Woodburytype, which employs the carbon process in its manufacture.

Chromogenic Print
Also called “dye coupler prints.” This term represents the majority of the color prints made today. Part of the material that forms colored dyes upon development is included in the emulsion during manufacture. During development, the silver image is bleached out, leaving only the dye image.
These prints are commonly referred to as a “Type C Print” if made from a negative and a “Type R Print” if made from a transparency. Introduced in 1936.

Cibachrome Print
Also called “silver-dye bleach prints.” The dye destruction process depends upon the bleaching of dyes that are formed wholly in the sensitized material, rather than formed during processing.
Color photographic prints made under various trade names including Utocolor in the early 1900s and Gasparcolor in the 1930s. Cibachrome (now Ilfachrome) was introduced in 1963.

Contact Print
Making photographic prints by placing a negative in contact with sensitized paper and printing, giving an image the same size as the negative.

Daguerreotype
Image formed on a silver-coated copper plate, sensitized by fumes of iodine. The image is developed in mercury vapor, which produces a unique direct positive image. Announced in 1839 by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, who had developed this process after his partnership with Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. Popular until 1860.

Dye Transfer Print
Color photographic prints made from color positives or negatives by a subtractive imbibition process. The subject is photographed through filters onto three color separation negatives and printed onto a single sheet of paper.
Among the many trade names are Pinatype (introduced in 1903) and Eastman Wash-off Relief (1935-1946). The Kodak Dye Transfer process, introduced in 1946, is no longer commercially available.

Gelatin-Silver Print
The gelatin silver process uses gelatin, an animal protein, as the binder and developed silver as the image material. The most common black and white print process, introduced in 1885 and still in use today.

Giclée Print
Nonimpact computer-controlled prints in which tiny droplets of ink are projected from nozzles onto paper.

Montage
Photographic prints made by re-photographing a collage or montage of two or more photographic prints or pieces of photographic prints to which drawing, painting, printing, or other two-dimensional objects may be added.

Photogram
Photographs produced without a camera, usually by placing an object directly on sensitized paper and exposing it to light.

Photogravure
Includes most photoetchings, and also known as “gravures.” Invented in 1878 by Karl Klic of Bohemia. A carbon tissue (coated with bichromated gelatin) is exposed under a positive transparency. This tissue is pressed into a metal printing plate which has been dusted with resin. The plate is washed to remove the tissue and the unexposed gelatin (under the shadows of the transparency). The plate is then etched, and the acid bites into the plate where the gelatin was washed away. After etching, the plate is inked and printed. The shadows of the transparency correspond to the shadows on the print. The prints contain a fine, irregular grain pattern from the resin.

Platinum/Palladium Print

Platinum: An iron (non-silver) process for making photographic prints in which platinum is reduced from a salt to form the image. Introduced commercially in 1879 as Platinotype, it is a permanent process.

Palladium: An iron (non-silver) process for making photographic prints in which palladium is reduced from a salt to form the image. Introduced around 1916 when platinum became very expensive because of WWI. It is a permanent process still practiced widely today.


Polaroid
Also called “diffusion transfer photographs.” These photographs are made from film packets that contain their own developing chemicals. They may be color or black-and-white, and while they are usually prints, they may also be negatives or transparencies. Polaroid introduced the process in 1947.

Tintype
Also called “ferrotypes” or “melainotypes.” A variant of the wet collodion process producing a direct positive image on a thin sheet of lacquered, or “japanned,” metal, which was usually iron. Later, in the 1880’s, the collodion was replaced by dry gelatin. Popular 1855-1930.