Odds Against

Harry Callahan, Chicago 1961

When I was ‘young in photography’ this Callahan photograph made a deep impression on me. A monumental figure like a statue is plucked out of an everyday moment on a footpath. The ominous clock ticking away, its hand pointing at the woman, a de Chirico in Chicago.

What are the odds against finding its sister image made only a year or two before? The Robert Wise movie Odds Against Tomorrow was made in 1959 and has a brief shot of people walking past a bank – soon to be robbed – and a woman walking under a clock.

There is no connection between the two images, it’s just something I noticed, but curiously, the movie does have some of the fateful quality of the photograph. It’s about the racial bigotry which leads to the doom of its two main characters. A very visual film, the cinematography is so refined and beautiful it relates to Callahan’s still photography aesthetic. I did some posts on the movie which you can find at Odds Against Tomorrow 1, 2 and 3



Koenning’s Lacunae

Katrin Koenning, Lacuna 00

Melbourne’s new photography gallery, Edmund Pearce (Edmund who?) has had a group show that included the work of Katrin Koenning, an emigré German photographer who lives in the city. Her work can be viewed on her excellent website www.katrinkoenning.com. The images may remind you of Lorca diCorcia‘s urban photos, I can’t argue with that, although he in turn might have have once been compared to Harry Callahan who also shot in big city canyons.

Koenning has found a Melbourne city street where light penetrates only briefly during the day like a spotlight. Passers by are caught like actors on a stage, and Koenning’s long lens draws out the drama with great precision. The image below looks like a stage version of Dante’s Inferno.

Katrin Koenning, Lacuna 06