Harry Callahan Biography

Harry Callahan's photography is mainly in black and white and features portraits of his wife, Eleanor, who served as a primary subject in many of his works throughout his career. He studied engineering at Michigan State College, but never formally studied photography in a classroom. Harry Callahan discovered photography at the age of 26 in 1938. For the next sixty years, Harry Callahan's photography style would develop into an exploratory art, using many different subjects and series experiments. Harry Callahan's photos experiment with many different subjects, as he once said, “If you choose your subject selectively — intuitively — the camera can write poetry.”

In 1946, he was appointed by László Moholy-Nagy to teach photography at the Institute of Design in Chicago, where he served as an influential photography mentor and teacher to aspiring photographers. Harry Callahan retired in 1977, at which time he was teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design. He passed away March 15, 1999 in Atlanta, GA, but left behind hundreds of thousands of negatives and around 10,000 prints, which are on display at prestigious institutions around the world. Harry Callahan's photography has been widely collected in acclaimed galleries such as the Corcoran Gallery of Art, George Eastman House, Smithsonian American Art Museum and The High Museum of Art.