PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Aaron Siskind, 87, who helped transform photography into an art form with stark black-and-white close-ups, died Feb. 8 at a hospital here after a stroke.
He began his career as a documentary photographer in the early 1930s. He made his mark and established his reputation in the 1940s and 1950s, when he moved into what then was the more revolutionary work of an abstract photographer.
He focused not on people, places and things, but on lines, shapes and textures.
He sought to show the expressive potential of the medium, often considered limited to mere description.
Of his work, he once wrote: "When I make a photograph, I want it to be an altogether new object, complete and self-contained, whose basic condition is order -- unlike the world of events and actions whose permanent condition is change and disorder."
He often was compared to abstract artists such as painters Franz Kline and Willem de Kooning. He concentrated on close-up details of nature, such as lava flows, and of objects, such as walls with peeling paint.
The work caught on and Mr. Siskind helped it spread by teaching from 1951 to 1971 at the Illinois Institute of Technology's design institute in Chicago, then at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence from 1971 to 1976.
The latter named its photography center after him. He also had taught at Black Mountain College in North Carolina and at Harvard University.
Mr. Siskind, a native of New York City's Lower East Side, was a 1926 graduate of City College of New York. Drawn to photography after receiving a box camera as a wedding gift, he gave up a job as an English teacher in the New York public schools, where he taught from 1926 to 1949, to take up photography full time.
During the Depression, he joined the Film and Photo League, a left-wing group committed to using photography to promote social justice.
His career as a serious photographer began in 1932 with the group's photo essay "Harlem Document."
He had one-man shows at such institutions as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago.
He is represented in their permanent collections, as well as those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Canada, the International Center of Photography in Rochester, N.Y., and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.
He was a co-editor of Choice, a magazine of poetry and photography. His work had been published extensively, most recently in "Harlem Document" in 1981, "Aaron Siskind: Pleasures and Terrors" in 1983, "Places" in 1976 and "Road Trip, Photographs 1980-88" in 1989.
He was married three times. His survivors include a stepdaughter, two sisters and two grandchildren.
DOLORES A. MacDONALD
Dolores Andujar MacDonald, 82, who taught Spanish in D.C. public schools for 32 years before retiring in 1969, died of a cerebral hemorrhage Feb. 5 at the Hospice of Northern Virginia. She lived in McLean.
She began her career in the D.C. schools in 1937, when she joined the faculty at Roosevelt High School.
In 1940, she transferred to Coolidge High, where she taught until retiring.
From 1957 to 1969, she also was Coolidge's foreign language department chairman.
Mrs. MacDonald, who came here in the mid-1930s, was a native of New York City.
She was a 1930 Romance languages graduate of Goucher College and received a master's degree in Spanish literature from the University of Puerto Rico.
She taught Spanish in San Juan, and then from 1934 to 1936, at Hood College in Frederick, Md. From 1945 to 1946, she held a State Department cultural post in Paraguay.
Mrs. MacDonald had been an organist at several area churches during the years, and had helped found the Episcopal Mission San Juan in Washington. She was a member of the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Washington and the Woman's National Democratic Club.
Survivors include her husband, Torrence H., of McLean; a brother, Jose Andujar of Fort Worth; and a sister, Lilly Rogers of New York City.