Photography Artist research

Harry Callahan

Harry Callahan was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1912. At the age of 26, Callahan discovered Photography, having never studied it in the classroom, and in less than a decade found way of working and experimenting which would continue over the next 60 years. Although he was already interested and enthusiastic about photography, it was a workshop with Ansel Adams that established his passion. His Photography is exploratory, choosing a particular subject working on it and often returning to it with a different perspective. The main 3 subjects he photographed were nature, buildings and people, particularly his wife, Eleanor. After choosing his subject he would often photograph it in a variety of ways, experimenting with extreme contrast, double exposure, all-white and all-black print, different lights and landscapes among many other techniques. His wife Eleanor was one of his main subjects to photograph, taking shots of her repeatedly, indoors and out, nude and clothed over the course of 15 years. In March 1999, Callahan died in Atlanta, leaving behind over 100,000 negatives and proof prints and his legacy that will last a lifetime.

I really love how abstract his images are, they provide a sense of beauty that is lacking in normal black and white shots. The obscure patterns and images overlapping adds depth to the images and makes them look complex and complicated but in a really elegant way. None of his subjects in these images are smiling, yet they still seem content and satisfied. The way that nature is combined with these images produces and really unique pattern and overlay, Although the images look busy its still clear to see what they are. I find it really interesting how the different image combinations can be used to create different atmospheres in the image, for example the image on the right looks a little more sinister than the other because of the sharp twig like shapes put over the top, making the portrait more difficult to see. I rally want to experiment with this in my work, but instead of using nature images on the overlay i could perhaps use light and shadows to create a similar effect.

Man Ray

Man Ray was born in 1890 to a Russian-Jewish immigrant family in Philadelphia. Ray attended high school and learnt some basic skills such as freehand drawing, drafting and other basic techniques and was also thought to have excelled in his art class. After graduating high school, he turned down a scholarship in architecture to peruse his career as an artist. He enjoyed painting the most, however he never made any money off his paintings, in his long career he worked in styles influenced by Cubism, Futurism, Dada and Surrealism. Whilst successfully navigating the worlds of fine art, he became a sought-after photographer, working freelance for magazines such as vogue, bazaar and vanity fair. Although he regarded himself as an abstract painter, Ray eventually disregarded the superiority painting had over photography and moved across both forms. After growing up in america in 1910s, he moved to Paris in 1920s, begin forced out again in the 1940s due to war. He moved back to Hollywood to continue his art, becoming a successful photographer but missed France so returned in 1951 to write his auto-biography in  1963 titled ‘Self-Portrait’. Man Ray was one of the first artists to explore light painting. He discovered this after setting up a camera to take a self portrait  and used a pen light to create a series of swirls on him image. Man Ray passed away in his studio in France at the age of 86.

Two of the things that caught my attention the most during this research was his abstract photography collages and his light painting. Both of these image show a clear contrast between light and dark, something that i want to emphasise in my imagery. Although the image on the left is a bit too abstract in terms of the imagery that i could create for my article i think that its a nice idea and i like how much the image is repeated using different brightness, the overlapping provides depth and makes you question what the image is about. I really like the idea of using light photography in my imagery. Because Lyndsey cant go in the light this could be a really useful way to get that idea across in image, i could use it to outline her or maybe even to blind her, showing that she cant go into the light as it has severe consequences.

John Stezaker

John Stezaker was born in 1949, in Worcester, United kingdom. He attended The Slade School of Art in London and graduated with a diploma in Fine Art in 1973. Stezaker is one of the leading artist in contemporary photographic collage. Using vintage postcards, old Hollywood film stills, travel postcards, publicity photographs and other printed matter, he uses surgical like precision to overlap and conjoin distinct images to create new personalities, landscapes and scenes in a collage style. His collages are seductive and fascinating, giving old images a new meaning, bearing Surrealism and Dada qualities.

Stezaker’s work is powerful in appearance, creating unique and new works of art by slicing and inverting old images. All of his work follows a similar theme, creating beautiful yet sinister portraits. They make you feel slightly uncomfortable because of their abnormal appearance which could be a response that i would want in my work due to the nature of the article. One idea I had influenced by Stezaker’s work would be to create a ‘sliced collage’ by taking two different images of the same person but adjusting the light and angle of each, to create really sinister and abstract photographs that reflect on the article and create a contrast between light and dark.

Sébastien del Grosso

Sebastien Del Grosso, 33,  is a Graphic Designer, Photographer and an Art director from Paris. He was taught to draw by his grandmother and had a massive breakthrough in his career with his photo illustrations. Sébastien del Grosso found that inspiration was staring right back at him after taking a self portrait and began to draw himself into the image. He uses his sketches to illustrate his life and certain events that have happened to him because he believes that ‘the history behind the image helps to produce a quality image’. The artists partially adapts original images by making half of the photo appear to be in a black and white sketch format.


I absolutely love these illustrations, they’re bold and really stand out compared to normal photographs due to the cross over between the photography and illustration. This showcases his skills as a photographer and an illustrator really well as both of the techniques work and blend really well together. I like the idea of using this way of producing imagery to represent life events, it gives the images a lot of meaning and makes them a lot deeper. I really want to experiment with adding illustration to my photography, however this doesn’t really fit with the theme of using light and creating contrast in my imagery.

Caroline Grohs

Caroline Grohs is a Graphic Designer, Illustrator and Editorial Designer based in Düsseldorf in Germany. Growing up in a small town near Düsseldorf, She was introduced into the world of Graphic Design from a young age, following in her mothers footsteps. At 19, she began her studies in Düsseldorf but a year later she moved out of her parents’ home and spent a year studying in Hamburg. After finishing her studies, she worked as a freelancer for a few small companies. She aims to create pieces of work that can be understood by everyone, designer or not.

The combination of Caroline Grohs illustration and photography work complements each other to create really stylized pieces of work. In terms on concept they’re quite simple, but executed to look perfect. I think the bold lines work well along side the photograph, they highlight and define certain areas drawing your attention to certain parts more than others. I like how contrasted her images are and feel like this style could work really well with what i plan on doing with my own imagery.

Doing research before creating my imagery has been incredibly useful. I now have more of a direction on which way i want to take my imagery and it has given my a chance to think about the path I take to get there. The ideas and concepts i like i will take to develop in my own imagery.


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