Harry Callahan (1912–1999) is regarded as one of the most influential figures in post-war photography.
‘Photography is an adventure just as life is an
adventure’, Callahan said. ‘If man wishes to
express himself photographically, he must
understand, surely to a certain extent, his
relationship to life.’
Although diverse in subject matter and approach, Callahan’s work is linked by a sustained
interest in formal questions of line and composition, depth of field, multiple exposures
and the relationship between photography and abstraction.
Select four images that present each of the four elements underlined above. How does he
alter our (the viewer’s ) relationship with familiar subjects?
Callahan’s work can be grouped into three themes: Nature, Buildings and People. The key thread linking all three is his wife, and most
photographed subject, Eleanor. Look at two images where the figure is integral to the composition. Discuss how Callahan
has composed the image or applied different effects to achieve this outcome.
Finally, relate Callahan’s work to the exam theme. Attempt to find an image for each
element. Explain your choices and try to think ‘out of the box’
Write a review of the exhibition. Follow these guidelines:
Introduce the exhibition
It’s important that you provide some context for the exhibition: when, where, who etc.
Think about the meaning and purpose of the exhibition and the photography.
Why are the pieces ordered or arranged this way? Does a particular photograph stand
out from the rest? Is there a theme or a subtext to the exhibition?
What work stands out as worthy of your attention? Select 3 or 4 pieces (depending on
the space you have) and focus on those works. Why do you like them? What makes them
strong? How do they relate to one another and the exhibit as a whole?
End the review
Summarise your thoughts. This can be positive, negative, “apparently indifferent,” or
some combination of these. You might consider what’s missing, what’s worth seeing,
what it is you value the most. Discuss specific pieces here.