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HARRY CALLAHAN
[1912 – 1999] An American photographer, who is considered one of the great innovators of modern American photography
I wish more people felt that photography was an adventure the same as life itself and felt that their individual feelings were worth expressing. To me, that makes photography more exciting. - Harry Callahan

The mystery isn't in the technique, it's in each of us. - Harry Callahan, More Joy of Photography by Eastman Kodak (Editor)
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[What is exciting] are photographs that say something in a new manner, not for the sake of being different, but because the individual is different and the individual express himself. - Harry Callahan

The photographs that excite me are photographs that say something in a new manner; not for the sake of being different, but ones that are different because the individual is different and the individual expresses himself. - Harry Callahan

...To be a photographer, one must photograph. No amount of book learning, no checklist of seminars attended, can substitute for the simple act of making pictures. Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there are no guarantees that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters... - Harry Callahan

I do believe strongly in photography and hope by following it intuitively that when the photographs are looked at they will touch the spirit in people. - Harry Callahan

I think nearly every artist continually wants to reach the edge of nothingness - the point where you can't go any further. - Harry Callahan

I guess I've shot about 40,000 negatives and of these I have about 800 pictures I like. - Harry Callahan

The photographs that excite me are photographs that say something in a new manner; not for the sake of being different, but ones that are different because the individual is different and the individual expresses himself. I realize that we all do express ourselves, but those who express that which is always being done are those whose thinking is almost in every way in accord with everyone else. Expression on this basis has become dull to those who wish to think for themselves. - Harry Callahan, Views on nudes by Bill Jay , ISBN: 0240507312 , Page: 104
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I photograph continuously, often without a good idea or strong feelings. During this time the photos are nearly all poor, but I believe they develop my seeing and help later on in other photos. I do believe strongly in photography and hope by following it intuitively that when the photographs are looked at they will touch the spirit in people. - Harry Callahan

I wish more people felt that photography was an adventure the same as life itself and felt that their individual feelings were worth expressing. To me, that makes photography more exciting. - Harry Callahan

I photograph continuously, often without a good idea or strong feelings. During this time the photos are nearly all poor but I believe they develop my seeing and help later on in other photos. I do believe strongly in photography and hope by following it intuitively that when the photographs are looked at they will touch the spirit in people. - Harry Callahan

I wish more people felt that photography was an adventure the same as life itself and felt that their individual feelings are worth expressing. To me, that makes photography more exciting. - Harry Callahan - [cited in: Creative Camera April 1970, p. 104]

The photographs that excite me are photographs that say something in a new manner; not for the sake of being different but ones that are different because the individual is different and the individual expresses himself. - Harry Callahan - 1946 [cited in: Creative Camera April 1970, p. 104]

Photography is an adventure just as life is an adventure. If a man wishes to express himself photographically, he must understand, surely to a certain extent, his relationship to life. I am interested in relating the problems that affect me to some set of values that I am trying to discover and establish as being my life. I want to discover and establish them through photography. - Harry Callahan - 1946 [cited in: Creative Camera April 1970, p. 104]
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It’s the subject matter that counts. I am interested in revealing the subject in a new way to intensify it. - Harry Callahan - 1964.
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Photography is an adventure just as life is an adventure. If man wishes to express himself photographically, he must understand, surely to a certain extent, his relationship to life. I am interested in relating the problems that affect me to some set of values that I am trying to discover and establish as being my life. I want to discover and establish them through photography. This is strictly my affair and does not explain these pictures by any means. Anyone else not having the desire to take them would realise that I must have felt this was purely personal. This reason, whether it be good or bad, is the only reason I can give for these photographs. ‘The photographs that excite me are photographs that say something in a new manner; not for the sake of being different, but ones that are different because the individual is different and the individual expresses himself. I realise that we all do express ourselves, but those who express that which is always being done are those whose thinking is almost in every way in accord with everyone else. Expression on this basis has become dull to those who wish to think for themselves. ‘I wish more people felt that photography was an adventure the same as life itself and felt that their individual feelings were worth expressing. To me, that makes photography more exciting. - Harry Callahan - 1946. Creative Camera, August, 1968, page 270-271

[I]t’s the subject matter that counts. I’m interested in revealing the subject in a new way to intensify it. A photo is able to capture a moment that people can’t always see. - Harry Callahan, 1000 Photo Icons by Anthony Bannon (Foreword), George Eastman House , ISBN: 3822820970 , Page: 647 - 648
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I think I came alive when I started photography. - Harry Callahan

A picture is like a prayer. - Harry Callahan

I can’t say what makes a picture. I can’t say. It’s mysterious. - Harry Callahan

The difference between the casual impression and the intensified image is about as great as that separating the average business letter from a poem. If you choose your subject selectively - intuitively - the camera can write poetry. - Harry Callahan - From the book: "Instant Connections: Essays and Interviews on Photography" by Jason Landry

I sort of believe that a picture is like a prayer; you’re offering a prayer to get something, and in a sense it’s like a gift of God because you have practically no control—at least I don’t. - Harry Callahan

I really didn’t have much to teach. I didn’t even believe in it. I felt so strongly that everybody had to find their own way... In terms of art, the only real answer that I know of is to do it. If you don’t do it, you don’t know what might happen. - Harry Callahan

Photography is filled with conflicts and choices. I can be just as serious about one picture as I am about another, but one works and the other doesn’t. Why? Ultimately I choose... that’s the important one... and give up on the other. - Harry Callahan

When I’m working well, I can make a lot of pictures at one time—three or four, each one as good as the next. Then I can go for a year without making one good exposure. - Harry Callahan

I wish that more people felt that photography was an adventure the same as life itself and felt that their individual feelings were worth expressing. - Harry Callahan

It takes me a long time to change. I don’t think you can just go out and figure out a bunch of visual ideas and photograph. The change happens in living and not through thinking. - Harry Callahan

I very rarely start photographing immediately. I like to walk and walk and walk. And the beach was nice because I can walk and unwind and then after a while start photographing. You can go to the sea where it’s beautiful and you are a part of it and I guess you want to let somebody else know about it. I think I must have felt the same way with Eleanor. - Harry Callahan

I wanted something important, something spiritual in my life. And as these feelings developed, I found that my spiritual enrichment came through art. It was then that I realized that I wanted to be an artist. That’s it. You see, I learn slowly, but every day I seem to learn more. - Harry Callahan

My value lies in the fact that I am a man for whom the visible world exists. - Harry Callahan

I think what photography can do really well is allow you to make a life’s work… So theoretically—the series is first, then the group is next, and the whole life’s work is the grand finale. - Harry Callahan

Everything was Bauhaus this and Bauhaus that. I wanted to break it... I got tired of experimentation. I got sick of the solarization and reticulation and walked-on negatives. What I was interested in was the technique of seeing... I introduced problems like “evidence of man,” and talking to people—making portraits on the street... I thought [the students] should enter into dealings with human beings and leave abstract photography. I felt that social photography would be the next concern. - Harry Callahan

I always go out with an idea, but it isn’t a very big deal, you know. It isn’t as if I’m going to save the world. Maybe I want to get down low and tilt the front lens, maybe it’s that much. - Harry Callahan

I thought at one time I should benefit humanity, but I don’t even know what that means anymore, and then you think, well, you’re doing it to satisfy yourself, but there’s more to yourself than just satisfying yourself too, and so I really think that it’s just that I want to leave something for somebody. - Harry Callahan

I sort of believe [previsualization] is untrue. I mean, are [Ansel Adams and the others] previsualizing a masterpiece, or a perfect print, or what? If I knew every picture I made was going to be a real picture, maybe I could go along with that, but I can’t. - Harry Callahan

I just don’t know what makes a picture, really—the thing that makes it is something unique, as far as I can understand. Just like one guy can write a sentence and it’s beautiful and another one can write it and it’s dead. What the difference is, I don’t know. - Harry Callahan

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