Henry Callahan is considered one of the most innovative and influential photographers of modern American photography. His oeuvre covers a wide spectrum of subjects, from nude photography and landscape photographs to cityscapes and other scenes which he edited in an array of different forms.
Harry Callahan was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1912 and studied engineering at Michigan State College from 1931 to 1933. In 1938 he began to take photographs as a self-taught artist. He was particularly impressed and inspired by the work of Alfred Stieglitz and Minor White. In 1941 he became a member of the Photographers Association Detroit Photo Guild and from 1944 to 1945 he worked in the photo lab of General Motors.
From 1946 to 1961, he was, on the recommendation of Arthur Siegel, a lecturer in photography under László Moholy-Nagy at the Institute of Design in Chicago. At this time he became acquainted with the photography of the Bauhaus and the New Objectivity. In 1954 he took part in the exhibition Subjektive fotografie 2 by Otto Steinert. In 1968 he had a significant solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. From 1961 to 1973 he was director and later teacher at the photo department of the Rhode Island School of Design (until 1977).