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Harry Callahan Exhibition at Tate Modern

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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Nature, Buildings, and People
Harry Callahan, tate modern, Detroit
Harry Callahan, 'Detroit', 1951 printed 1979-89 Estate of Harry Callahan; courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

With only a workshop session given by Ansel Adams in 1941, this was the only training Harry Callahan received before pursuing his career as a photographer. Apparently that's all he needed. Mainly self-taught, this man from Detroit is regarded as one of the most influential figures in post-war photography.

Callahan has captured everything from buildings to nature to people, yet his work is little known in the UK. Tate Modern hope to change all that in an exhibition featuring his work, which is on display until the 31st May.

Unlike with conventional landscape photography, Callahan paid equal attention to both broad perspectives and individual details, meaning nothing was out of focus. But there was one subject in particular that garnered more focus than anything else, and that was his wife. She is the linking theme in his 1975 project, titled Buildings, Nature, and People, appearing in each photo. He married Eleanor in 1933, and her significance in his life can be seen by the number of appearances she makes in his work.

In the exhibition, you will be able to see how his work evolved from black and white in the 1960s & 1970s to colour dye transfers in the 80s, and eventually aluminium prints in the 90s. Callahan said that his lack of formal training meant that he felt free and unconstrained by the rules that had been established. You will discover how he passed down this freedom of expression to future generations while he taught at various design colleges in America. He shared with students a unique look and passion on the subject of composition, depth of field, and multiple exposure.
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Why? Fun for art lovers
When: Until 31st May
Phone: 44 (0)20 7887 8888
Where: Tate Modern
Cost: Free
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