The J. Paul Getty Museum

[Jerome] Arizona

Object Details


[Jerome] Arizona


Aaron Siskind (American, 1903 - 1991)






Gelatin silver print

Object Number:



34.3 × 25.1 cm (13 1/2 × 9 7/8 in.)


© Aaron Siskind Foundation

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Object Description

I have brought to my picture-making, qualities of expression that came out of my experience of music and literature. My belief in the meaning of abstract expression came from my love of music. And my use of metaphor comes out of my experience of poetry and literature.

Made in the abandoned mining town of Jerome, Arizona, this photograph of cracked and peeling paint by Aaron Siskind has an almost musical rhythm that echoes the influences he discussed in the statement above. In Siskind's close-up view, the paint is transformed from the reality of decay into abstracted, multi-layered textures and tones formed by shadow and reflection. Seen in more selective detail than the eye registers at a glance, the paint becomes a metaphor of the passage of time and the impermanence of place.

Experimental Photography: The New Subjectivity (December 19, 1989 to March 4, 1990)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), December 19, 1989 to March 4, 1990
Arrows of Time: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (January 24 to April 2, 1995)
  • Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center at UCLA (Los Angeles), January 24 to April 2, 1995
The Photographs of Ray K. Metzker and the Institute of Design (September 25, 2012 to February 24, 2013)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 25, 2012 to February 24, 2013

Rosenberg, Harold. Aaron Siskind, Photographs (New York, Horizon Press, 1959), pl. 45, for part of title.

Chiarenza, Carl. Aaron Siskind: Pleasures and Terrors, foreword by James L. Enyeart (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, with Center for Creative Photography, 1982), p. 121, fig. 133.