Friday, February 24, 2006

Harry Callahan: The Photographer at Work

Harry Callahan: The Photographer at Work, is a magnificent new book by Britt Salvesen (with an introduction by John Szarkowski) on the creative life of one of the 20th century's most creative photographic artists. It is so much more than a "mere" biography.

What sets this biography (which a generous sampling of Callahan's work) apart from other books in this genre, is its elegant focus on the creative aspects of photography. In discussing Callahan's dedication to constant experimentation, choice of subject matter, his visual approaches to a particular shot, selection of themes and improvisations, sequential ordering, and the all important print process, the book provides a rare invaluable resource to the inner reflections of an artist at work (and play). Callahan's lifelong body of work is testament to the fact that an artist need not travel to the ends of the earth to find beauty; beauty is not just in the eyes of the beholder, but in the dedication and loving attention to craft and creative experimention in one's backyard.

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