Harry Callahan show in WashDC

Discussion in 'Book, Magazine, Gallery Reviews & Shows' started by JerryWo, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. JerryWo

    JerryWo Subscriber

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    I went to the National Gallery of Art to see the Callahan exhibit. See:
    http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/callahaninfo.shtm

    I was less than impressed with much of his work. Wikipedia says, "He then spent almost every afternoon making proof prints of that day's best negatives. Yet, for all his photographic activity, Callahan, at his own estimation, produced no more than half a dozen final images a year.".

    For all that shooting, there was not much that grabbed my attention and the photos, by today's standards, seemed poorly composed, uninteresting, and technically quirky (shadow detail was rendered almost black).

    I did like his series of miniatures. I'm drawn to these little prints, perhaps because they force me up close to examine the photo. These miniaturess also seemed to be better in terms of subject material, composition and execution.

    Still, pretty neat to see photos like this up close and personal!

    Jerry W
    Warrenton, VA
     
  2. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    I knew it was in town and looked at the info briefly.
    Thanks for your assessment.

    I think if I go I will forgo this holiday season and go in January.
    Was it crowded down there when you went...
     
  3. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm drawn to the pictures he made of his wife Eleanor, were there any of those in this show? FWIW, his influence on a number of photographers who were his students is, I think, one of his great legacies.
     
  4. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    I didn't realize he made so few final images per year. That makes me feel a little better about my own extremely limited (perhaps overedited) output.
     
  5. Barry S

    Barry S Subscriber

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    I went to the show and found it outstanding. Callahan's work is best when he photographed subjects with which he was on intimate terms--his wife Eleanor (and daughter), and the stark Midwestern landscape. I find his studies of Eleanor to be some of the best nudes in 20th c photography. His technical mastery is impressive, but is always quietly used in support of the subject. Callahan's later work on display--particularly his foreign travels--suffers somewhat by his lack of familiarity with the subject. Callahan was a great talent and this is a fine exhibition--well worth seeing.
     
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  6. herb

    herb Member

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    I need to go to galleries more- I read the subject line and thought Clint Eastwood was having a show.

    I also did not know who Andreas Gurky was.
     
  7. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    The Chicago School. I personally prefer the West Coast aesthetic, but some of Callahan's work is still marvelous. Barry, is there any of his color work in the show?
     
  8. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    I am a student of one of his early students. (Vernon Cheek)
     
  9. Barry S

    Barry S Subscriber

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    Jim-- The show includes a selection of his later color work. Growing up in Chicago may have given me a better appreciation of Callahan's aesthetic--as well as some photographers of the same school--like Aaron Siskind.
     
  10. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Where in Chicago did you grow up? Both my parents hail from the North Shore suburbs. I was born in Evanston.
     
  11. Barry S

    Barry S Subscriber

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    South of Peterson between California and Western, then mostly Skokie--not too far from you. I have some very dear friends that live off of Central.