Aaron Siskind (1903 – 1991) was an American photographer widely considered to be closely involved with, if not a part of, the abstract expressionist movement. In his autobiography he wrote that he began his foray into photography when he received a camera for a wedding gift and began taking pictures on his honeymoon. He quickly realised the artistic potential this offered. He worked in both New York City and Chicago, but also traveled broadly, making multiple trips to Mexico and Italy.
On the invitation of Harry Callahan, Siskind joined the faculty of the famous Institute of Design in Chicago in 1951, taking over as head of the photography department in 1961, when Callahan left. Siskind and Callahan, famous for their synergy as teachers and photographers, reunited in 1971 when Siskind left the Institute of Design for the Rhode Island School of Design where Callahan then taught. Siskind continued to teach there until his retirement in 1976.
Siskind's main work focuses on the details of nature and architecture. He presents them as flat surfaces to create a new image out of them, which, he claimed, stands independent of the original subject. His work has been described as crossing the line between photography and painting.
In 2003 and 2004 the Aaron Siskind Centennial Celebration took place with exhibitions at more than a dozen institutions across the U.S., each devoted to a different period or theme of his life and work. The most recent exhibition of Siskind’s work took place earlier this year in Montpellier, France. His work is in many public and private collections globally.