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.