Double Feature – Two masters of American photography: Aaron Siskind and Harry Callahan


Harry Callahan: Eleanor and Barbara
The film will be introduced by Joshua Chuang: Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Associate Director for Art, Prints and Photographs, and The Robert B. Menschel Senior Curator of Photography at the New York Public Library.

This film documents Harry Callahan, one of the great masters of twentieth-century photography. Known for his repertoire of subjects - wife Eleanor, nature, the city - he produced a lifetime of work, which continues to influence a generation.

Recognized for the quiet elegance of his pictures, Callahan’s consistent formalism and perceivable love for his subjects has created numerous classic images that stand as hallmarks in the medium.

Highlighted in the film is the extended portrait of Callahan’s family, from the mid-1940s until the 1960s. Recalling their experiences are the photographer, as well as Eleanor, his principal subject, and Barbara, his daughter.


Aaron Siskind
“Both the object and the idea are in varying degrees of harmony and dominance… Almost inevitably there are tensions in the picture, tensions between the outside world and the inside world. For me, a successful picture resolves these tensions without eliminating them.”- Aaron Siskind, 1954

Aaron Siskind is most remembered for his imaginative photography of two-dimensional surfaces.

This film surveys Siskind’s work over half a century, from his social documentaries of the 1930s to the forms and abstract imagery of found objects, stone walls, and graffiti of ensuing decades.

The photographer is filmed on location in Martha’s Vineyard and Lima, Peru.