Born in Detroit, Michigan Harry Callahan began his career at Chrysler Motors and briefly studied engineering prior to returning to Chrysler where he joined the employee’s camera club. A self-taught photographer, Callahan pursued his interest with his friend, and later photographer, Todd Webb and he was further inspired by a lecture given by Ansel Adams.
He is recognized for both his work with line and form and light and shadow, both in colour and black and white photography. The subjects of his images were often his wife and daughter, as well as people and places local to him. Despite a very active process and significant number of proof prints and negatives, he produced relatively few finished prints, approximately 6 according to the artist. Callahan was a teacher at two design institutions, first the Institute of Design in Chicago and later at the Rhode Island School of Design. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts.