Saturday, April 21, 2012


"Beauty is something wonderful and strange that the artist fashions out of the chaos of the world in the torment of his soul. And when he has made it, it is not given to all to know it. To recognize it you must repeat the adventure of the artist. It is a melody that he sings to you, and to hear it again in your own heart you want knowledge and sensitiveness and imagination." - Quote from The Moon and Sixpence by W.S. Maugham

For some reason Aaron Siskind's photographs intrigue me. 

My first glimpse of Siskind's photography was an image from his Pleasures and Terrors of Levitation series (see photo above).

"Siskind froze the motion of athletes by using extremely fast shutter speeds that left crisp outlines. He captured the figure at moments that emphasized their abstract shape, pinning their dark form against a cloudy-bright sky so as to put the abstract-ness of their shapes into higher relief" - Kara Fiedorek

The Levitation series was impressive but it was only when I discovered his more abstracted images that my heart began dancing to the melody and I set out to find out more about this amazing photographer. Read a quick biography here.

Many of his photographs reminded me of Fanz Kline's paintings and upon further investigation I discovered the Homage to Franz Kline series. No surprise that Siskind and Kline were friends!

"Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever. It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything". Aaron Siskind


  1. Beautiful work and I love the quote. Thank you for always doing such inspiring posts. xoxo

  2. this post is so perfect Robyn... thank you as always for sharing your inspirations!

  3. what i like about photographs is that we see fixed in time a moment or a thing someone else found important

  4. there's something calming about black and white makes one look harder and look back at oneself.

  5. A beautiful aesthetic.
    Thank you, Robyn.

  6. i was recently sent a piece about the first use of photography...for painters.
    exciting to SEE the connectedness here.

  7. As you've said, it's so easy to see his connection to Kline in his work. His abstractions are fabulous!
    I also enjoyed reading your interview by Soraya Nulliah in your side bar. Eager to see part two!

  8. R-I just love that some photographers and some of their shots just jolt one and make me look at the world differently. Of course I love the detailed photos you have shared. Thanks. B

  9. Amazing work - love the detailed aspects you've shared -- and the quote. Your posts are always so inspiring. Thank you! xxoo

  10. Sensational groupings of photographs. They are so very painterly. Fascinating that the same photographer has created such different series.

  11. these are very zen. i love the top one. love how artist friends of different disciplines can affect each others visions.

    i don't think artists always create out of "chaos of the world in the torment of his soul." but the rest of that quote is lovely.

  12. love these!
    oh the dots and circles
    the supple bodies
    tumbling in mid-air
    many years ago
    I studied
    the history of photography
    it was a brand new class
    in the History of Art
    my grandma was a photographer
    out in the sandhills of NE...

    what a wonderful gathering Robyn
    your eye never wavers,

    thanks for always inspiring...

    xox - eb.

  13. Thanks for introducing me to 2 new artists I will HAVE to check out. It's interesting to read about possible relationships to melody and rhythm. Wonder what sounds would emerge if I put abstracts like those on the music stand?

  14. Great discovery! Love those brush strokes in the much energy.

  15. Such inspiring photos. THanks Robyn.

  16. Amazing the beauty a line can hold isn't it?

  17. Annie, enjoy!

    Thanks Mo, glad you enjoyed the post.

    India, yes... a thing someone else found important .... which makes us stop and wonder.

    Linda Starr, for some reason black and white photography makes me take it more seriously, if that makes any sense.

    DJ, I wish there was a wave icon in the comments :-)

    Neva, I thought many of these were paintings.

    Babs, I find his work very exciting. Glad you enjoyed the interview.

    Barry, blogging has made me look at photography in a new light and since beginning my blog in 2006 I've found so many "new" photographers who make me "look at the world differently".

    Thanks Judy S, I'm so glad you share my fascination with these detail shots.

    Seth, quite a contrast between the two series and yet they are both focused on abstracted shapes.

    Mansuetude, I can't remember who said the quote in the book but I'm trying to find a second hand copy of The Moon and the Sixpence so that I can re-read it.

  18. eb, ohhh these dots and circles are sooo exciting aren't they?! The first image in particular makes my heart race. Did your grandma inspire you to start photography? Your photographs have a similar quality in that they effect my heart rate.

    Annie K, I have great faith in your ability to transform these into music..... and come to think of it I'm sure I have listened to a few of your pieces that bring to mind abstract expressionism. Very exciting innovative work!! Yours and Siskind's.

    Karen C, wonderful energy!

    Jo, :-)

    Lucky Dip Lisa, absolutely!

  19. my goodness, I can fall quite behind in the blog world.. I love black and white photography.. I see the poetry in between the light and shadows.