Artist: Aaron Siskind (American, 1903–1991)

Date: 1960

Medium: Gelatin silver print

Dimensions: 26.6 x 34.2 cm (10 1/2 x 13 7/16 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Gift of Mr. Kaye, 1991

Accession Number: 1991.1212

Rights and Reproduction: ©Aaron Siskind Foundation.


"When I make a photograph I want it to be an altogether new object, complete and self-contained, whose basic condition is order-(unlike the work of events and actions whose permanent condition is change and disorder)." These words are from Siskind's "Credo," which was first published in 1956, but this sentiment can be understood to have guided his work at least since his conversion to primarily abstract photographs in about 1943. By 1949, a good portion of Siskind's photographs recorded accretions on walls-writing, painting, weathered signs, debris, etc-and Siskind was a well-known personality in the Abstract Expressionist circles of the New York art world. His abstract photographs from this period were a major force in the development of avant-garde art in America. In rejecting the third dimension, his work belied the notion that photography was tied exclusively to representation, and it served as an invaluable link between the American documentary movement of the 1930s and the more introspective photography that emerged in the 1950s and '60s.