Eleanor and Barbara, Chicago
Harry Callahan frequently photographed his wife, Eleanor, and their daughter, Barbara, in inventive ways that opened new creative avenues in his work. He was intrigued by the conventions of the ordinary family snapshot and sought to apply its tropes—familiar subjects centrally positioned within the frame, casually facing the camera—to the formally rigorous demands of his cumbersome 8-x-10-inch camera. Callahan composed this impeccably detailed shot so that his family is surrounded by an unusual amount of dark space. A thin shaft of light dramatically pierces the darkness, illuminating an otherwise banal scene.