Trained at Chicago’s famed Institute of Design, Art Sinsabaugh (1924-1983) made his artistic breakthrough in the early 1960s with a giant “banquet” camera that produced 12 x 20-inch negatives. He developed a unique methodology that utilized the extra-large-format contact prints cropped (sometimes dramatically) to evoke the sweeping horizons he saw in nature. He was a landscape photographer in the broadest sense: he photographed the spaces—both rural and urban—that we inhabit.
Sinsabaugh developed sophisticated picture-making skills combined with an innate sensitivity to the visual possibilities of the American landscape. His cool, clear aesthetic has been described as a mixture of the great expansive vision of nineteenth-century landscape photographers with mid-twentieth century formalism.
Working in large series, he sought to create an all-encompassing “census” of the American landscape—the rural midwestern farm (Midwest Landscape Group), the urban cityscapes of Chicago and Baltimore (Chicago and Baltimore Landscape Groups), the mountains and resorts of New England and the barren deserts of the southwest (American Landscape Group). Rather than focusing on individual people and places, Sinsabaugh captured the rhythms of human life and our relationship to the land through the formal elements—the buildings, silos, bridges, highways, homes, skyscrapers, trees, and gravestones—that punctuate our horizons. Taken as a whole, Sinsabaugh’s remarkable photographs capture a richly nuanced sense of place and the ever-changing face of the American environment.
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LOS ANGELES, CA (KCET) Sunday, August 17, 11:30pm
PHILADELPHIA, PA (WHYY) Sunday, August 17, 10:30pm
IOWA (IPTV) Monday, August 18, 10:00pm
ILLINOIS (WILLTV) Sunday, August 17, 11:30pm
Link to Art Sinsabaugh Archive
Link to Book