Aaron Siskind American, 1903-1991
Born in New York City, Aaron Siskind inspired many photographers through the example of his own work and his instruction at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, and at the Rhode Island School of Design. Graduating from City College of New York in 1926, Siskind taught English in the city's public schools for 23 years. He took up photography as a hobby in 1930 and two years later learned to process and print his own images. Around this time he joined the Photo League, an organization of socially concerned photographers who promoted documentary photography. Siskind headed the league's project focusing on Harlem (Harlem Document) and also produced his own series Tabernacle City, Bucks County and The Most Crowded Block in the World.
In the early 1940s, Siskind's work gradually shifted from a social documentary approach to a more abstract and personal style. During summers on Martha's Vineyard and in Gloucester, Massachusetts, he began photographing natural objects close up, eliminating deep, naturalistic space and concentrating on the primacy of the flat, two-dimensional surface of the photograph. As a result of his experiments, he came to be interested in the photograph as a physical object in its own right, rather than as a reflection of the outside world.
In 1947 Siskind exhibited his new work at the Egan Gallery in New York, where the paintings of the abstract expressionists were shown. He became friends with painter Franz Kline and other members of his circle and through their support published his first book, Aaron Siskind: Photographs (1959). In the 1950s Siskind also began to establish himself as a photography teacher. He gained his first experience as a part-time instructor at Trenton College (1949-51), then taught during the summer of 1951 at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. There he worked with Harry Callahan, who invited him to join the staff of the Institute of Design in Chicago. Siskind taught at the institute from 1951-71, when he left to join the Rhode Island School of Design where Callahan now headed the department of photography. Siskind continued to teach at the school until his retirement in 1976.
Over the years Siskind remained interested in exploring the formal and abstract qualities of photography, becoming known for his closeup, abstracted views of rocks, peeling paint, bits of graffiti, torn signs, and other objects. He exhibited widely, and in 1982 his photographs were featured in a major retrospective, Aaron Siskind: Fifty Years, organized by the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson. M.M.
Antonio A. Fernandez
Antonio A. Fernandez American, b. Cuba, 1941-
Havana-born Antonio Alfonso Fernandez is an educator known for incorporating film and video in the classroom as an innovative teaching tool. He graduated from the University of Florida (B.A. in political science, 1963), where he was first introduced to photography by Jerry N. Uelsmann. After serving in the Peace Corps in Panama (1964-66), Fernandez returned to the United States to study photography and cinematography with Aaron Siskind, Arthur Siegel, Wynn Bullock, and Frederick Sommers at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology (M.S., 1970). He continued his education, earning degrees in elementary education/language arts from Oakland University (M.A.T., 1972) and Michigan State University (Ph.D., 1978). He taught elementary school in several U.S. states before going on to teach educational media at the University of Manitoba (1976, 1977) and photography at Michigan State University (1976-78) and the New World School of the Arts (1987-90, 1993-present). Since 1978 he has taught education and photography at St. Thomas University in Miami.
Fernandez was included in the Contemporary Photographers exhibition at George Eastman House, Rochester (1968), and regularly exhibits his photography in Florida. Since 1987 he has used a series of black-and-white 35mm images, dubbed racetrack "mug shots," to explore the myriad human emotions evoked by the activities of betting and watching horse races. He also works with medium- and large-format cameras. Fernandez lives in Hialeah. A.W.
Arthur Siegel American, 1913-1978
Arthur Siegel is best known for his influential role as a teacher at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, in Chicago, and for his experimental approach to photography. Born in Detroit, he became interested in photography in 1927 and, after studies at the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, worked as a freelance photographer. In 1937 Siegel received a scholarship to study at László Moholy-Nagy's New Bauhaus in Chicago, where he created his first abstract photographs and established a longstanding relationship with the school. The following year he returned to Detroit and resumed his career as a commercial photographer.
In 1942 Siegel was hired as a photographer for the Office of War Information by Roy Stryker, for whom he had worked briefly earlier at the Farm Security Administration. After two years of war service as a photographer at an air corps base in Illinois (1944-46), Siegel was invited by Moholy-Nagy to establish and direct the photography department at the New Bauhaus, now called the Institute of Design. Over the years he worked with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind to develop one of the most influential photography programs in the country.
In the mid-1950s and early 1960s, Siegel focused on photojournalism, producing pictures for Time, Life, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated. He also became known for his skill as an architectural photographer and for his experiments with color photography. In the mid-1960s he returned to teaching full-time at the Institute of Design, becoming head of the photography program again in 1971. M.M.
Barry Burlinson American, 1941-
Barry Burlinson, born in Norwich, New York, earned a B.S. in art education from the State University of New York at Buffalo (1963) and studied at the University of Siena and Siena Art Institute in Italy (1962) and the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology (1966-68), where his teachers included Aaron Siskind, Arthur Siegel, and Wynn Bullock. His experiments with solarization and manipulated printing techniques caught the interest of Nathan Lyons, who included a nude study by Burlinson in the 1969 exhibition Vision and Expression at George Eastman House, Rochester. Burlinson has since worked as a still and motion picture photographer for the city of Chicago. A.W.
Constance Brenner (Vieira da Cunha) American, 1943-
Constance Brenner, now Constance Vieira da Cunha, is best known for her work and teaching in documentary photography. After earning a B.S. in design at the University of Michigan (1965), she studied under Aaron Siskind at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology (M.S. in photography, 1970). From her early works with double exposures made in the camera to her later straight, documentary photography, Vieira da Cunha has been interested in capturing images of natural subjects that are depicted out of context. She describes her work as a "surrealist" study of that which transforms the view with the "ambiance of traces of the past."
Vieira da Cunha (born in Buffalo, New York) has worked as a documentary photographer for the planning institute of Mexico (1973). Her images have been shown in one-artist exhibitions at the Museu de Artes Modernas, Rio de Janeiro (1978), and the Museu de Artes Modernas, São Paulo (1978), and published in Brazilian magazines such as Istoe and Iris. She has taught photography at City College of San Francisco (1973-76), Escola de Artes Visuais-Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro (1977-80), the University of the District of Columbia (1986-91), and the Potomac School, McLean, Virginia (since 1994). She has also taught advanced documentary photography at Trinity College (1990-93) and the Corcoran Museum School of Art (since 1995). Vieira da Cunha lives in Washington, D.C. K.L.C.
James Newberry American, 1937- Recognized for his early intriguing series of nudes and more recent series Changing Chicago, a social documentary project on immigrants, James Newberry (born in Indianapolis) studied at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology (B.S., 1967; M.S., 1973). His work was widely published in various periodicals, including Creative Camera, the British Journal of Photography, Du, Swiss camera, and photo, and served as illustrations in numerous textbooks. Newberry was included by Nathan Lyons in Vision and Expression at George Eastman House, Rochester (1969), and in Points of Entry, a traveling exhibition organized by the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego (1995-97). He has had one-person exhibitions at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1972), the Photographer's Gallery, London (1972), and the Art Institute for the Permian Basin, Odessa, Texas (1988), and has received grants from the Focus/Infinity Fund (1987, 1988). Newberry has taught at Columbia College, where he was the founding chairperson of the department of photography (1967-75), and at East Texas State University (1979-95). He currently teaches at Collin County Community College and lives in Klondike, Texas. A.W.
Jerry Aronson American, 1945-
Jerry Aronson (born in New York City) became interested in psychology and photographic narrative while a student at Wayne State University (B.A. in psychology and photography, 1966). He studied with Aaron Siskind at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology (M.S. in filmmaking and photography, 1969).
Since 1968 Aronson has been an independent filmmaker, with a particular emphasis on biographical documentaries. He chooses complex subjects that offer a "lesson in living," aiming to elicit compassion and understanding from his viewers. The Divided Trail (1978), which explores the complicated plight of Native Americans in urban society, earned Aronson an Academy Award nomination (1979), among other distinctions. He received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Colorado Humanities Program for his 1993 production The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg, which was screened in several venues, including the 1993 Sundance Film Festival. Aronson also directed a six-hour documentary miniseries for Turner Productions titled The Roots of Country Music (1995-96).
Aronson worked as cinematographer for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1969-70), and as filmmaker-in-residence for the Colorado Arts Council (1975-77). He has taught film at Columbia College (1969-74) and at the University of Colorado (since 1972). Aronson lives in Boulder. A.W.
Joe Crumley American, 1940-
Joe William Crumley (born in Blackwell, Oklahoma) is an active commercial photographer who worked as a military photographer for the U.S. Army Signal Corps from 1959-63. While in the army he began formal studies, earning a B.A. in art (1965) from Central State University and in 1967 completing a M.A. in painting at the State University of New York, where he studied with John Bromburg. He completed his education at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology (M.S., 1970).
Crumley taught photography at Daytona Beach Community College (1970-73), Oklahoma State University Technical Institute (1973-77), and South Community College (1977-80). He left teaching to open a commercial photographic studio (1980-87) and since 1987 has owned a graphic arts business specializing in illustrations, logos, and design. Crumley lives in Norman, Oklahoma. K.L.C.
Joseph D. Jachna
Joseph D. Jachna American, 1935-
Simple, formal abstraction and technical precision characterize the black-and-white photography of Joseph David Jachna, who studied in Chicago with both Aaron Siskind and Harry Callahan during their tenure at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology. Like Kenneth Josephson, his colleague at the institute, Jachna's early work raises conceptual questions regarding the self-reflexive nature of photographic representation. His studies of hands holding mirrors that both reflect and obscure their geographic backdrops typify his concerns regarding the imprint of humans on nature. It is an imposition he sees as ultimately transitory, like the staged photographic moments themselves.
Jachna got his start in photography working part-time for various commercial establishments in his native Chicago during the 1950s. He attended iit (B.S. in art education, 1958; M.S. in photography, 1961), teaching there after graduation and in 1969 joining the faculty at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Jachna has received a Ferguson Foundation Grant from the Friends of Photography (1973), the Silver Circle Award for Teaching from the University of Illinois, Chicago (1974), and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1976) and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1980). His work has been shown in one-person exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago (1961), the University of Illinois, Chicago (1965, 1977), Nikon Photo Salon, Tokyo (1974), Chicago Center for Contemporary Photography (1980), Chicago State University (1985), and the University of Minnesota, Duluth (1986). He lives in Oak Lawn, Illinois. A.W.
Karin A. Vanek
Karin A. Vanek American, 1943-
A photographer active in the late 1960s, Karin Vanek attended the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology (M.S. in photography, 1970). A.W.
Linda S. Connor
Linda S. Connor American, 1944 -
Born in New York City, Linda Connor decided to become a photographer in 1961 when she received the family's Argus CS camera. She studied with Harry Callahan at the Rhode Island School of Design (B.F.A., 1967) and with Aaron Siskind at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology (M.S., 1969).
Connor's earliest works were biographical photocollages into which she incorporated found imagery and hand-colored manipulations. She then began creating still-life arrangements, often inserting her own photographs into the tableaux. She has worked most extensively with the 8 x 10-inch view camera, and for her first images using this format employed a soft-focus lens handed down to her from a great-aunt who had used the apparatus when studying with the pictorialist Clarence H. White. Contact printed and gold-toned, Connor's architectural subjects and landscapes have a mysterious, antiquated ambience. The work was published as a monograph titled Solos (1979).
Retaining the large format, Connor has shifted to a hard lens for her photographic explorations of sacred religious sites and artifacts. For this quest she has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1976, 1988) and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1979), an AT&T Photography Project Grant (1978), a Photographer of the Year Award from the Friends of Photography (1986), an Individual Artist Grant from the Marin Arts Council in California (1986), and the Charles Pratt Memorial Award (1988). This pursuit has also taken her around the globe -- from the Caribbean, Mexico, and Guatemala to Bali, Nepal, Tibet, and India.
Connor has had one-person shows at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson (1982), and the Art Institute of Chicago and Gallery Min, Tokyo (1988). In 1990 the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago organized a one-person exhibition of her work, Spiral Journey, with accompanying catalogue. Since 1992 she has been printing from found glass negatives depicting astronomical views, juxtaposing those images with her own in a diptych format. Connor lives in San Francisco, where she has taught photography since 1969 at the San Francisco Art Institute. A.W.
Stephen Ryan American, 1939-
Stephen M. Ryan studied from 1968-73 at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, and was active as a photographer in the 1960s-70s. A.W.
Thomas Brown American, 1940-
Thomas M. Brown was active as a photographer in the 1960s, studying in Chicago at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology. He completed his M.S. in photography in 1969. A.W.