callahan_harry_304_1985Harry Callahan, Eleanor, Port Huron, 1954 (304.1985)

Harry Callahan only had eyes for one woman—her name was Eleanor Knapp. They met in 1933 when she saw a picture of him and proposed a date; two years later they were married. For the next six decades she would be his mistress and his muse. Photographed “an endless number of ways,” Eleanor was Callahan’s primary subject from 1947 to 1960.


Harry Callahan, Eleanor, Chicago, 1948 (2012.42.1)

Mainly self-taught, Callahan began photographing in 1938 with the Chrysler Camera Club in Detroit, Michigan. After seeing a lecture by Ansel Adams in 1941, Callahan was inspired to concentrate on his photography more seriously. He would shoot all morning and spend the afternoons printing the day’s best negatives. Photography became a ritualistic affair—a deeply personal one.

While living with Eleanor in Chicago, he invented the 8×10 view camera snapshot. His was casual, yet meticulous. Harry Callahan was like the Atget of Chicago in the 1950s—only it wasn’t the city that captivated him, it was his wife. In their home, on the street, and in nature, Callahan photographed Eleanor in order to possess her. She is ever-present in the photographs—in every form, in every ray of light, there is Eleanor.


Harry Callahan, Chicago, 1958 (3416.1992)


Harry Callahan, [Flower against sky], ca. 1950 (281.1981)

Callahan had a unique vision that combined the experimentation of the European Modernism with the grace of the Americans. The photographs selected were made in the couple’s first years in Chicago, before their daughter Barbara was born. With grace, Harry Callahan documents their most intimate moments alone together. He never exhausted of photographing her, and even in his landscapes and abstracted forms, it seems to be Eleanor his loving eye is searching for.

Kory Trolio, ICP-Bard 2014


Harry Callahan, Chicago, 1950 (602.1994)

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Smart, Witty, Clever: Rare, Early Street Photography by Ansel Adams

At the Zoo, Manhattan, 1953 (372.1984)

Sculpture, St. Vartan’s Armenian Church, New York City, 1966 (380.1984)

New York World’s Fair, 1964 (375.1984)

We recently found several examples of very rare, previously unseen examples of Ansel Adams’ early street photography…
Kidding! Of course they’re great, funny photos by Alfred Gescheidt (born 1926).
To hear a very funny and enlightening talk (with references to both Weegee and Roman Vishniac) by Alfred Gescheidt at ICP on December 15, 1982, please click here.

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Making a Funny Face


Jill FreedmanGoofy Kids, Dublin, 1984 (33.1988)

weegee_2139_1993Weegee, [Women with children making silly faces],  ca. 1950 (2139.1993)

burkhard_hans_jurgen_137_2003Hans-Jurgen Burkard, Ulon Uda, Siberia, 1989 (137.2003)

Studies have shown that smiling can make you feel happier and less stressed. Try it!

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The Uncanny Indecisive Body


Hans Bellmer, La Poupée, 1935 (207.1987)


Legs as extension of the body.

Legs as the choreographers of movement.

Legs as navigators.

Legs as present moment.

Legs as independence.

Legs as control.

Legs as power.

Legs as balance.

Legs as decision makers.

Legs as duality.

Legs as surreality.

Legs as sexuality.

Legs as the protectors of the vagina.

Legs as the indecisive body.


The surreal leg images made by the German photographer Hans Bellmer (1902-1975) in the mid-1930s combine the physical interior with the psychic interior while reflecting on Bellmer’s idea of a physical unconscious. The body becomes the place on which identity can be explored in a way that blurs the boundaries between reality and fantasy.


Hans Bellmer, La Poupée, 1935 (205.1987)

While looking at these images, the haze of distinction between imagination and reality appears to distort the lines between pleasure and anxiety. The viewer also has a childish fantasy that this doll is an actual autonomous being.

Bellmer said of his motives in making his dolls: “I shall construct an artificial girl whose anatomy will make it possible physically to re-create the dizzying heights of passion and to do so to the extent of inventing new desires.”

bellmer_hans_206_1987Hans Bellmer, La Poupée, 1935 (206.1987)

These growing female body parts deny any straightforward reading of subjecthood or desire also carry a question of sexuality. But these bodies do not rely on binaries of homosexuality or heterosexuality but more of a hermaphroditic–or even a homogeneous–untouchable inanimate being.

The doubling of the legs and the doubling of self and other, animate and inanimate, creates a skewed eroticism that keep us trying to make couples and links that make sense together. The legs of the doll are both Bellmer’s in terms of a voyeuristic possession or control.

bellmer_hans_202_1987Hans Bellmer, La Poupée, 1935 (202.1987)

The tensions between Bellmer as the photographer-voyeur, the doll as a construction of Bellmer himself, and the doll as a completed object onto which fantasies can be projected  are very compelling; it seems that Bellmer becomes the courtier of this strange character. The photographs reveal the two modes of aggressive voyeurism and uncertain identification, resulting in this indecisiveness.

bellmer_hans_211_1987Hans Bellmer, La Poupée, 1935 (2011.1987)

Bellmer’s adolescent-looking doll models function in an uncanny space that places them between child and adult, real and fake; present, past, or future. This makes the work the perfect example of Freud’s definition of the uncanny: “an uncanny effect is often and easily produced when the distinction between imagination and reality is effaced, as when something that we have regarded as imaginary appears before us in reality, or when a symbol takes over the full functions of the thing it symbolizes.”.

Nina Mendez Marti, ICP-Bard 2014

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Storyville Portrait


E. J. Bellocq, Storyville Portrait, New Orleans, 1912 (33.2004)

E. J. Bellocq was a wealthy French-Creole man living in New Orleans at the turn of the twentieth century. He was known professionally as a photographer of landmarks, ships, and commercial machinery, but upon his death in 1949, a seedier side of the hunchbacked, dwarf-like photographer was discovered. Among Bellocq’s effects were eighty-nine haunting glass-plate negatives taken around 1912 of prostitutes in New Orleans’ legalized red-light district, Storyville. While most of his work was destroyed in 1949, the Storyville Portraits were found later by Bellocq’s brother, a Jesuit priest, and eventually sold in 1966 to a young photographer named Lee Friedlander. Friedlander began making printing-out paper prints, or sun-exposed contact prints, of the glass plate negatives, and in 1970 they were exhibited by John Szarkowski at the Museum of Modern Art. On many of the plates the faces of the prostitutes have been crossed out, believed to have been done by Bellocq himself while the emulsion was still wet, and two others, including this one, showed the prostitutes wearing masks. However, Bellocq’s images from the brothels of Storyville were not taken as objects offered up to the male gaze, but instead the women are willing subjects of Bellocq’s 8×10 view camera.

Kory Trolio, ICP-Bard 2014

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Boys’ Room


Tina Barney, The Son, 1987 (2.1998.a)


Gregory Crewdson, Untitled, 1998 (9.2001)

Gran Fury, Read My Lips (boys), 1988 (1138.2000)

David Seidner, [Pavlos, Prince of Greece], ca. 1994 (2007.65.13)


Sheng Qi, Memories (Me), 2000 (7.2004)

The son becomes the part of the future family that takes place in the mind of the viewers.

Constructs of masculinity vary across historical and cultural contexts. I would like to question the set of qualities, characteristics, or roles generally considered typical of, or rather appropriate to, a man in our society. This selection is based on the stereotyped expectations of the inappropriate mindset of the growing up teenager. What images he would look at or rather what images he would have on his computer desktop nowadays? Who is his hero and who he would like to become when he grew up? I am interested in the narrative quality of photographs that opens up the discussion for the wider context. How by looking at photographs we assume and create stories in our heads. This curatorial decision of selecting images shared with the viewers is presented to open the dialogue of reading images through personal selection rather than based on the historical or project related context. I am interested in presenting both: documentary and staged work to create a whole new spectrum of the constructed narrative, and the play between curator and viewers.

Kasia Gumpert, ICP-Bard 2014

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Happy Birthday, Albert Einstein!

stein_fred_238_1993Fred Stein, Albert Einstein, Princeton, New Jersey, 1946 (238.1993)

Born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm, Germany, Albert Einstein received his PhD in 1905 from the University of Zurich. During the same year he published five theoretical papers, including “On a Heuristic Point of View Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light,” which would earn him the 1921 Nobel Prize in physics, and two papers setting out his special theory of relativity and contributing what is considered by many to be the most famous equation in the history of physics: E = mc2. These papers would become heavily influential in the foundation of modern physics. He died in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1955 at the age of seventy-six.

eisenstaedt_alfred_1208_2005Alfred Eisenstaedt, [Robert Oppenheimer, director of the Institute of Advanced Study, discussing theory of matter in terms of space with Albert Einstein, Princeton, New Jersey], 1947 (1208.2005)

aigner_lucien_342_1982Lucien Aigner, Albert Einstein at work, Princeton, 1940 (342.1982)

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