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Broken Window, Gloucester
In July 1944, Siskind went on vacation to Cape Ann in Massachusetts, where he met his friends Adolf Gottlieb and Mark Rothko in Gloucester. Every morning he walked in the town for two or three hours, carrying his 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 inch Linhof camera with one lens. Along with shots of the port city, he experimented with images of isolated objects, suggested by Abstract Surrealism. ... Here, Siskind's balanced forms, in a range of black and gray, can be read as a harmonious graphic design or a Miróesque fantasy, but the image does not appear immediately to be representational. This was a transformational step, as Siskind began using photography, with its mimetic capabilities, to render purely abstract form: "Pressed for the meaning of these pictures, I should answer, obliquely, that they are informed with animism--not so much that these inanimate objects resemble the creatures of the animal world (as indeed they often do), but rather that they suggest the energy we usually associate with them. Aesthetically, they pretend to the resolution of these sometimes fierce, sometimes gentle, but always conflicting forces."
from Acton, A History of Photography at the University of Notre Dame: Twentieth Century (Notre Dame, 2019)