Aaron SISKIND (New York, NY, USA 1903 - Providence, RI, USA 1991)


About

AARON SISKIND was born December 4, 1903 in New York City. He attended school in New York City at De Witt Clinton High school and went to City College for Literature. In 1929, Siskind married Sidonie Glaller and received his first camera as a honeymoon gift.

From 1926 to 1947 Siskind was an English teacher in the New York City public school system, and during this time he was an active member of the New York Workers' Film and Photo League. He took care to reorganize the League and establish the Feature Group, a documentary production unit. Siskind also produced both group and independent photo-series including: The Catholic Worker Movement; Dead End: The Bowery; The End of City Repertory Theatre; The Harlem Document; Lost Generation: The Plight of Youth Today; The Most Crowded Block in the World; Park Avenue: North and South; Sixteenth Street: A Cross-section of New York; and Tabernacle City.

By the middle 1940's Siskind was working on increasingly symbolic and abstract photographs based on discarded and found objects on Martha's vineyard and in Gloucester, Massachusetts. He forged close and enduring relationships with the artists of the New York School, and in 1945 he published "The Drama of Objects" in Minicam Photography. He would later travel through Greece and Rome.

From the early 1950's and for the rest of his work life, Siskind taught at a number of institutions, including Trenton Junior College, Black Mountain College, Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Rhode Island School of Design. In 1956, Siskind co-published "Learning Photography at the Institute of Design." Later, he became a founder-member of the Society for Photographic Education, a board member of the Gallery of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and a founding member of the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester. Between 1966 and 1983 Siskind received numerous awards, including the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the Gold Star of Merit award from Philadelphia College of Art, and NEA grant, and the Governor's Prize for the Arts, Rhode Island.

In 1984, Siskind incorporated an eponymous foundation that is set up to inherit his vintage photographs, the income from which he mandates be used in support of contemporary photography. Siskind died in Providence Rhode Island, on February 8, 1991 at the age of 87

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