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Aaron Siskind
© Jonathan Williams · Portrait of Aaron Siskind
Aaron Siskind
Aaron Siskind

Aaron Siskind

Country: United States
Birth: 1903 | Death: 1991

Aaron Siskind was born on December 4, 1903 in New York. He was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants and the fifth of six children. After receiving his Bachelor of Social Science degree from the College of the City of New York in 1926, he went on to teach high school English in the New York public school system for 21 years. His first loves were music and poetry, but he took an interest in photography after his 1929 wedding, when he received his first camera as a honeymoon present. He began his career in photography as a documentarian in the New York Photo League in 1932. From 1936 to 1940, he oversaw the League’s Feature Group as they created documentary photo essays of political importance, fueled by a desire for social change.

On the invitation of Harry Callahan, Siskind joined the faculty of the Institute of Design in Chicago in 1951, taking over as head of the photography program in 1961, when Callahan left. Siskind and Callahan, famous for their synergy as teachers and photographers, reunited in 1971 when SIskind left the Institute of Design for the Rhode Island School of Design where Callahan then taught. Siskind continued to teach at RISD until his retirement in 1976. He traveled broadly, making multiple trips to Mexico and Italy, including a stint in Rome, funded by his 1966 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship.

Siskind died at age 87 in Providence, Rhode Island. The Aaron Siskind Centennial Celebration took place in 2003 and 2004, with exhibitions at more than a dozen institutions across the country, each devoted to a different period or theme of his life and work.
 

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Polly Gaillard
United States
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Polly Gaillard is a fine art photographer, writer, and educator. She is part-time Professor of Art at Furman University and has taught photography workshops and college courses for more than ten years including summers abroad teaching American students in Prague, Czech Republic, and Cortona, Italy. Polly received a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2010. She has exhibited her fine art photographs nationally and published a limited edition artist book, Pressure Points, with a foreword by actress Jamie Lee Curtis. Polly's photographic skills traverse contemporary art, documentary, portrait, and traditional photographic practices. She lives in Greenville, SC with her daughter. You, From a Distance Making portraits in a pandemic is challenging if you like to get closer than six feet to your subject. 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John Kenny
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Bruce Mozert
United States
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David Johndrow
United States
David Johndrow is a fine art photographer living in Austin, Texas. After studying photography the University of Texas, he began shooting commercial work as well as pursuing his more personal fine art photography.David’s continuing series, Terrestrials, combines his passion for gardening and photography and features macro nature photographs of animals and plants that inhabit his Hill Country, Texas garden. To realize his vision, he prints with silver gelatin, platinum/palladium, gum-bichromate and gumoil.His photographs are part of the Wittliff Collection of Southwestern and Mexican Photography, as well as in many private collections.All about David Johndrow:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?I took a darkroom class in art school and fell in love with the process. The first roll of film I shot I processed and printed myself.AAP: Where did you study photography?I learned photography at The University of Texas, but I built my own darkroom and started working on my own. I really honed my printing skills working as a printer in a photo lab. Just the shear volume of work I printed during that time made me a better printer.AAP: Do you have a mentor or role model?I can’t say I had any mentors except for photographers like Irving Penn who I loved and was inspired by.AAP: How long have you been a photographer?I’ve been a photographer for 30 years.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?My first shot was of my friends who were in a band. I had other friends who were actors and comedians, so I started taking lots of portraits for peoples publicity shots.AAP: What or who inspires you?I am inspired creatively by many different kinds of artists, but my biggest inspiration is the natural world. Rarely do I go in search of photographs; rather things just appear to me when I spend enough time outdoors. Gardening is my biggest obsession next to art.AAP: How could you describe your style?I have lots of styles but my most well know work is done in macro. I guess the one common thing in all my work is a simple graphic composition.AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series? I love Matt Mahurin, especially his portraits of Tom Waits. AAP: What kind of gear do you use?I shoot with a Hasselblad on 120 film.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?Although I shoot on film, I edit my images on the computer. It helps me group images in a series or arrange them for exhibition.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?My favorite photographer is Irving Penn.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?I would tell young photographers to shoot a lot of images, do a lot of experiments, and try to learn some different printing processes.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Don’t try and shoot photos of things you think others would like but shoot subjects you are most interested in. Every subject has been done before, so try and put your own spin on it.AAP: What are your projects?The project I’m working on is close-ups of natural textures.AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?My best memory is of shooting the pyramid at Chichen Itsa. It was at the solstice and I wanted a photo of the serpent shadow on the steps, but it was a cloudy, rainy day. Suddenly, right before closing, the sun burst out and I got some great shots.AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?Don’t knowAAP: The compliment that touched you most?“Every time I look at your photograph I see something different”.AAP: If you were someone else who would it be?No one else.AAP: Your favorite photo book?Irving Penn: Passages
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