Page 52 - Vancouver Art Gallery 2014
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women in Chicago’s streets from 1950: his subjects are lost in thought, brows furrowed, eyes focused elsewhere.
The images evoke quiet moments of introspection. Callahan also made a series of collages in which he cut out
images from Vogue magazine and assembled them into composites of dozens of faces, addressing the permeation
of visual imagery and the way it shapes identity in modern mass culture.


The City This grouping includes images made in places Callahan knew well, such as Chicago and Providence, as
well as locales with which he was less familiar, such Cairo, Rome, Portugal, Peru and Mexico. Some of Callahan’s
most memorable representations of Chicago were created through multiple exposures, a technique he began
experimenting with in 1943. Made directly in the camera, rather than by combining separate negatives, the results
were incredibly difficult to predict or control. Nonetheless, Callahan developed a masterful command of the
technique. For example, his 1948 image of Chicago—which features the side of a building overlaid with innumerable
pedestrians—contains up to thirteen exposures and is an improbably perfect composition that conveys the density
and energy of the city. Incorporating time into the structure of the image, the multiple exposures of city streets
speak to the layered, multi-faceted and intricate nature of urban life. Architecture was an ongoing subject of study
as well; the series of Providence houses, begun in 1963, depicts the simple vernacular houses of the region.
The composition of each image is constructed around a receding central space, a kind of window in the picture
plane that parallels the windows we see on the houses. Callahan moved to Atlanta in 1983, and from 1987 to
1990 he took habitual walks from midtown to downtown Atlanta creating the Peachtree Series , which captures
ordinary, everyday sights that form a coherent and subtle examination of the artist’s adopted hometown.


ABOVE: Harry Morey Callahan, Chicago , 1961, silver gelatin print, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Gift of The Rossy Family
Foundation, © The Estate of Harry Callahan, Courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York OPPOSITE: Harry Morey Callahan, New
York , 1974, silver gelatin print, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Gift of The Rossy Family Foundation, © The Estate of Harry
Callahan, Courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York




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