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Detroit

Photography

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Detroit

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Harry Callahan
American, 1912–1999

Date

1943, printed later

Medium

Gelatin silver print

Accession #

1997.6

Dimensions

8 7/8 x 12 1/16 inches

Location

Currently Not on View

Description

Blurred layers of Ford automobiles give the impression of a busy street full of speeding cars. The storefronts and windows of the buildings echo in dizzying repetition. Near the center, one man crosses the chaotic road. He appears ghostly and transparent due to the photograph’s overlapping layers.
To create this effect, Harry Callahan used multiple exposures, a technique in which the lens is exposed to light twice or more and the resulting images are superimposed in a single frame.

Born in Detroit, Callahan was a largely self-taught photographer. He was inspired to use the camera and the unique properties of photography to see the world in a new way—as he put it: “to see photographically.” Instead of exotic subject matter, he concentrated on the familiar: his wife and daughter; the city—mainly Detroit, Chicago, Providence, and Atlanta; and ordinarily unremarkable landscapes, such as a close-up of a leaf on snow or the water’s edge at the beach. This photograph of a Detroit street demonstrates Callahan’s use of experimental techniques to show everyday scenery from a fresh perspective.

Credit

Purchase with funds from the H. B. and Doris Massey Charitable Trust, Dr. Robert L. and Lucinda W. Bunnen, Collections Council Acquisition Fund, Jackson Fine Art, Powell, Goldstein, Frazer and Murphy, Jane and Clay Jackson, Beverly and John Baker, Roni and Sid Funk, Gloria and Paul Sternberg, and Jeffery L. Wigbels

Image Copyright

© 2018 The Estate of Harry Callahan

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