Friday, May 3, 2013

Harry Callahan "Weed Against the Sky, Detroit"

Harry Callahan, Weed Against the Sky, Detroit, gelatin silver print, 1948/1970.

Harry Morey Callahan (1912-1999) was an influential twentieth century American photographer. Born in Detroit, Michigan, he worked in Chrysler when he was a young man then left the company to study engineering at Michigan State University. However he eventually dropped out, returned to Chrysler and joined its camera club. Callahan began teaching himself photography in 1938. He formed a friendship with Todd Webb who was also destined to become a photographer. A talk given by Ansel Adams in 1941 inspired him to take his work seriously. In 1941, Callahan and Webb visited Rocky Mountain State Park but didn't return with any photographs. In 1946 he was invited to teach photography at the Institute of Design in Chicago by László Moholy-Nagy. He moved to Rhode Island in 1961 to establish a photography program at the Rhode Island School of Design, teaching there until his retirement in 1977.

Dr. Frederic Wertham once observed in his infamous anti-comics book,  “there are pictures within pictures for those who know how to look.” Wertham illustrated in his 1954 expose, Seduction of the Innocent, examples of dirty pics one could find in children’s comic books. Here’s one the troubled Doctor found below, reprinted in Craig Yoe's book Weird But True 'Toon Factoids. What would FW make of the Harry Callahan photo above? Hey, now.

No comments:

Post a Comment