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Aaron Siskind




 1903 - 1991
•	 He was born to immigrant Russian Jews on Dec. 4, 1903 - 5th out of six children, and lived half his life in New
   York...
Harlem
   1937
Harlem
1937
1940
St. Josephs House
Seaweed
                                                                          1953/1970s




•	 In the early 40’s, how...
Two Small Barn Doors                Date?

He was an Abstract Expressionist, but instead of using a paintbrush he used a c...
• The tendency to separate
                                           Siskind’s abstract work from his
                   ...
•	 The best photos are like Gloucester
   3 and Jerome 20 where your eyes
   just wander across and explore this
   beauti...
Jalapa 66, from Homage to Frantz Kline
Chicago 27   1960
Pleasures & Terrors
of Levitation
(series	1953-1961)
Rome   1963
Mexico 32   1982




                   Bahia 170   1984
The Road
(series	-	early	1990s)
Siskind in his darkroom in Providence, RI
If you look
                                        very intensely
                                        and slowly,
   ...
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Aaron Siskind Presentation

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Presentation by Donald,Leslie,Jonathan for Rhode Island School Of Design.

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Transcript of "Aaron Siskind Presentation "

  1. 1. Aaron Siskind 1903 - 1991
  2. 2. • He was born to immigrant Russian Jews on Dec. 4, 1903 - 5th out of six children, and lived half his life in New York. As a child was always on the street, exploring. At thirteen, he used to listen to people talk about politics, then give public speeches about peace and on anti-war. • While studying social science at City College of New York, he joined a literary group whose members included Adolph Gottlieb and Barnett Newman, who would both become painters and would play key roles in Siskind’s development as an artist. Soon after he graduated in 1926, he began teaching English to fifth-to-ninth-graders in the New York public school system. In 1929 he Married Sidonie (Sonia) Glatter (annulled 1945). • His first loves were music and poetry, but he took an interest in photography in 1930 (when he received his first camera as a going-away present before his honeymoon trip to Bermuda). This was a quote from Siskind: I was given a small camera as a wedding gift from a very dear friend. My first pictures were taken on my honeymoon. As soon as I became familiar with the camera, I was intrigued with the possibilities of expression it offered. It was like a discovery for me. • He began his photography career as a documentary photographer in the New York Photo League in 1932. From 1936 to 1940 he oversaw the League’s Feature Group as they created documentary photo-essays of political import including Harlem Document, Dead End: The Bowery, Portrait of a Tenement, and St. Joseph’s House: The Catholic Worker Movement The group was a place to meet other photographers and learn techniques. Frustrated with the group’s strict politics, Siskind quit in 1935, but rejoined the following year to become head of group. But Siskind slowly edged away from strict documentary. • HENRY HORENSTEIN, Professor, Rhode Island School Of Design, said this about Siskind: Aaron was warm, smart, articulate, funny, and opinionated. It was obvious that he loved teaching and he loved his students, treating us much like his own children. However, I already had a father with a lot of opinions about what I should and shouldn’t do, which made Aaron’s style of teaching difficult for me. I am sorry I couldn’t get closer to him as a lot of his other students did. When I began teaching at RISD in the early 1980s, Aaron invited me to bring my class to his home in Pawtucket, RI. There, he would regale us with his stories and wisdom. It was at these very special classes that I really got to appreciate Aaron’s great generosity and spirit.
  3. 3. Harlem 1937
  4. 4. Harlem 1937
  5. 5. 1940
  6. 6. St. Josephs House
  7. 7. Seaweed 1953/1970s • In the early 40’s, however, Mr. Siskind’s work grew increasingly spare and abstract, and by 1950 he had completely departed from his earlier documentary style. • Siskind’s work gradually shifted from a social documentary approach to a more abstract and personal style. • “For the first time in my life subject matter, as such, had ceased to be of primary importance,” Siskind explained. “Instead I found myself involved in the relationships of these objects, so much so that the pictures turned out to be deeply moving and personal experiences.”
  8. 8. Two Small Barn Doors Date? He was an Abstract Expressionist, but instead of using a paintbrush he used a camera. Franz Kline was a close friend. Wilhelm De Kooning cites Siskind as a significant influence. Like Ansel Adams Sis- kind’s photographs are very precise. Unlike Adams, Siskind seemed to be more concerned with the concept of pure space rather than any individual subject.
  9. 9. • The tendency to separate Siskind’s abstract work from his straightforward documentary work is understandable -- we achieve clarity through categories. But the two periods, or styles, are really the same: Siskind was always gripped by the enduring concerns of landscape and figure even as he chose to see this wide, strange world of ours through the smaller, detailed lens of abstraction. (Charles A. Hartman Fine Art, 134 N.W. Eighth Ave., 503-287-3886) • Critic Eby Lloyd called him “the father of modern photography. His work, more than that of any single photographer, has freed photography from its concerns with simple representation, documentation, or portraiture, and has taken it to the realm of poetic signification. In Siskind’s hands, photography attained its potential as a full abstract and expressionist art.” Untitled (Hand and broken glass) 1940s
  10. 10. • The best photos are like Gloucester 3 and Jerome 20 where your eyes just wander across and explore this beautiful surface. • By exploring the surfaces of the things that Siskind found tearing away from walls or from detritus in the street is important because he found a language that paralleled the line of thought that was being developed by the Abstract Expressionist painters: Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning, and Franz Kline. Jerome 20 1949 Gelatin silver print, 1957
  11. 11. Jalapa 66, from Homage to Frantz Kline
  12. 12. Chicago 27 1960
  13. 13. Pleasures & Terrors of Levitation (series 1953-1961)
  14. 14. Rome 1963
  15. 15. Mexico 32 1982 Bahia 170 1984
  16. 16. The Road (series - early 1990s)
  17. 17. Siskind in his darkroom in Providence, RI
  18. 18. If you look very intensely and slowly, things will happen that The Photographer: Aaron Siskind, 2004 Richard Merkin you never dreamed of before.
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