Charles A. Hartman Fine Art is excited to present Harry Callahan: Photographs. Harry Callahan was one of the most influential photographers of the twentieth century. The photographs in the exhibition include some of his best known images of his wife Eleanor and daughter Barbara as well street scenes, still lives and experimental pieces. These beautiful silver prints, many of them from large format negatives, are exquisite examples from a true master of the medium. This is a unique opportunity to view more than twenty of Callahan's important and influential photographs.
Harry Callahan was the son of a Midwestern farmer who moved to Detroit to get work in the auto factories. He purchased his first camera in 1938, when he was a 26 year-old clerk in the shipping department of Chrysler Motors. While there, he joined the Chrysler camera club and then the Detroit Photo Guild. In 1941, he met Ansel Adams who gave a workshop in Detroit. Callahan was struck by “Adam’s crisp nature studies and precise prints… [which] stood in stark contrast with the soft-focus, manipulated imagery practiced in the camera clubs.” (Britt Salvesen) Adams’ pictures demonstrated how clear, sharp, highly detailed descriptions of the visible world could be expressive.
Around this time, Callahan befriended Detroit-area photographer, Arthur Siegel, who was a practicing photojournalist. Siegel had studied with László Moholy-Nagy, a European émigré who founded the New Bauhaus school in Chicago. Through informal gatherings at Siegel’s house, he became acquainted with Moholy-Nagy’s Bauhaus teachings. Within two years of meeting Adams, Callahan developed the themes and techniques that would characterize his 50-year career. Callahan would go on to teach at the Institute of Design in Chicago and later the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he influenced multiple generations of artists.
Harry Callahan’s work is in numerous museum and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The High Museum, the George Eastman House, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. His archive is in the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona.