Once when on a road trip and asked why he did not want to stop and photograph some of the beautiful scenes in nature that had been passed by, Aaron Siskind answered,”The only nature I’m interested in is my own nature.” Recognized as an outstanding photographer and teacher, Siskind’s photography was for the most part the foundation of abstract expressionism in photography. His experiences and association with the Chicago School no doubt influenced him. He met Harry Callahan at Black Mountain in 1950 and was invited to move to Chicago and teach photography. That school, evolved from the New Bauhaus, traced its heritage back to Lazlo Moholy-Nagy who was greatly influenced by the Russian Constructivists. The term Abstract Expressionism is more easily applied to painting or sculpture since part of the work rests in the making of the art. In the case of Jackson Pollock both the process and the painting as an index of the process were paramount. Siskind found things that appealed to him and stimulated his “nature” or his visual sensibilities. These are photographs that are easily passed by in a gallery or pages flipped quickly in a book. When some time is spent however, one often finds that they do begin to grow into you, not on you, but into.
The confection of light, shadow,color, and texture that one sees in Havana can be very much like that. And I assure you that the process of creating it s stimulating and satisfying.