b. 1912 Detroit, Michigan, d. 1999
Harry Callahan was self-taught as a photographer. Inspired by a workshop and lecture given by Ansel Adams, he began to photograph in Detroit. In the early 1940s, he took time off from his job at General Motors to concentrate on his photography. Around that time he went to New York, where he met Berenice Abbott, Paul Strand, and Lisette Model. Callahan began teaching photography at the Institute of Design of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago in 1946. Fifteen years later he founded the department of photography at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. His work is largely Modernist in style, defined by its geometry and frequent abstraction of forms. He made a celebrated portrait series of his wife, Eleanor, which includes deeply personal studies of form and light. He explained the images simply by saying, "There's some beauty you don't want gone."