Harry Callahan (American, born October 12, 1912–died March 15, 1999) is known for his work in photography. A native of Detroit, MI, he worked for Chrysler, and, after a brief hiatus spent at Michigan State University, he joined the company's camera club, and, by 1938, Callahan had begun teaching himself photography. During this time, he became friends with another future photographer, Todd Webb. Callahan met his wife on a blind date in 1933, when they were both Chrysler employees, and the two married three years later. His method of photography was very technical and precise; every day, he woke up and walked the city where he lived to take photographs. In the afternoons, he would look over his negatives and choose the best ones to make print proofs.

Callahan once estimated that he produced no more than a half dozen finished images each year. He often photographed his wife and daughter, buildings, and streets. His photos showed a strong sense of darkness and light, along with lines and forms. Callahan often experimented with multiple exposures and saw photography as deeply personal. His wife, in particular, held great significance in his work. She was his major subject for a period of 15 years. Callahan gave his photographs simple titles, such as Eleanor, New York, and Chicago. These works are currently in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago.

Callahan was a unique innovator in American photography. His work is noted as much for his use of color as for black and white. He received the National Medal of Arts in 1996.

The artist died in Atlanta in 1999, leaving behind some 100,000 negatives and 10,000 proof prints. The University of Arizona maintains his archives, and the Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York represents his estate.

Timeline

1912
Born in Detroit, MI
1938
Began as an amateur photographer when he was clerk in the shipping department of Chrysler Motors
1941
Joined the Chrysler camera club and then the Detroit Photo Guild where he met many established photographers, including Ansel Adams
1942
Traveled to New York to meet Alfred Stieglitz
1946
Asked to join the photography faculty at the Institute of Design in Chicago by Arthur Siegel
1961
Left Chicago to head the photography department at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
1973
Stepped down from the chairmanship in 1973, but continued teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design.
1996
Awarded the National Medal of Arts.
1999
Died in Atlanta, GA

Exhibitions

2010
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA (solo)
Hasted Hunt Kraeutler, New York, NY
Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH

Sala Municipal de San Benito, Valladolid, Spainbr>Städtische Galerie Iserlohn, Iserlohn, Germany
IMMA Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland
Fifty One Fine Art Photography, Antwerpen, Belgium
2009
Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
Rick Wester Fine Art, New York, NY
Museum für Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt, Frankfurt, GermanyM
useum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco - de Young, San Francisco, CA
Flo Peters Gallery, Hamburg, Germany
Kunsthandel Jörg Maaß, Berlin, Germany
International Center of Photography, New York, NY
Hasted Hunt, New York, NY
Deborah Bell Photographs, New York, NY
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, France
Fundacion Foto Colectania, Barcelona, Spain
2008
Deborah Bell Photographs, New York, NY
2007
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA (solo)
Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA (solo)
Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, GA (solo)
Pace / MacGill Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, CA
Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ
Michael Dawson Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Pace / MacGill Gallery, New York, NY
The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL
Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA
2006
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (solo)
CCP Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ (solo)
Danziger Projects, New York, NY (solo)
Zabriskie Gallery, New York, NY
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Daiter Contemporary, Chicago, IL
Photo Gallery International, Tokyo, Japan
Galerie f 5,6, Munchen, Germany
2005
Instituto Cervantes, Berlin, Germany
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
Alan Klotz Gallery, New York, NY
Centre Calouste Gulbenkian, Paris, France
Laurence Miller Gallery, New York, NY
Gendell Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Pace / MacGill Gallery, New York, NY
2004
Gallery Kayafas, Boston, MA (solo)br>HackelBury Fine Art Limited, London, UK (solo)
Peter Fetterman Gallery, Santa Monica, CA (solo)
Afterimage Gallery, Dallas, TX (solo)
Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, GA
2003
Pace / MacGill Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2002
Gallery 292, New York, NY (solo)
Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2001
Galerie m Bochum, Bochum, Germany (solo)
Elemental landscapes - photographs by Harry Callahan, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA (solo)
1997
Harry Callahan, The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA (solo)
1996
Harry Callahan, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA (solo)
Harry Callahan, The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (solo)
1994
Callahan in New England, David Winton Bell Gallery, Providence, RI (solo)
Harry Callahan - A Retrospective, Jan Kesner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
1991
Harry Callahan - Couleur et noir-blanc, Musée de l´Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland (solo)
1990
Harry Callahan, Centre Pompidou - Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris, France (solo)
1984
Eleanor: Photographs by Harry Callahan, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (solo)
1981
Harry Callahan Photographs in Color, Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL (solo)
1978
Harry Callahan, Blaffer Gallery - The Art Museum of the University of Houston, Houston, TX (solo)
1976
Harry Callahan, MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (solo)
1962
Harry Callahan and Robert Frank, MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1948
Photographs by Bill Brandt, Harry Callahan, Ted Croner, Lisette Model, MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY