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black and white and luck

Black and white and luck: Harry Callahan is a photographer that unless somewhat forced to (like I am for class now) I would ignore. His work, although good, is of little interest to me and doesn’t really help inform me artistically. Although I enjoyed some of his work like the extreme black images and the extreme white images, I can’t say that his work was anything special to me. I feel extremely indifferent towards him. I think the most interesting thing about him is his story and philosophy on photography; the idea that an art education would have hindered his artistic ability not helped it. He was able to shoot freely without any pre-conceived notions of what he should and should be photographing. He was much more interested in the mechanics and experimentation of the medium than the creative thought that goes behind every image.

In my opinion, this way of working is only okay for some people and some types of photography. In a more documentary style of working with a photographer who is self-motivated a lack of education may be the best thing for them. I know personally that I needed the push and knowledge that comes with going to an art school to get better and develop my style. The way that Callahan talks about Ansel Adams and cites him as an inspiration caught me off guard. When I think of Adams I think of someone who is technique focused and determined to get accurate photos of the natural landscape, not someone who encourages creativity and experimentation practices in an urban setting or with double exposures. Although Callahan’s work is not very interesting to me his way of thinking and creative process makes me want to free myself from the constructs I have set for myself.


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