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Photographer and educator Aaron Siskind (1903-1991) holds a preeminent place in the history of American photography. Beginning his photographic career in the 1930s as a social documentarian with the New York Photo League, he ultimately radicalized the medium by emphasizing the photograph as an abstract form of expression and an aesthetic end in itself. Siskind taught in New York City's public schools for 25 years before becoming recognized as a photographer and then a gifted pioneer of photographic education. His vision and methods have and will continue to inspire and instruct future generations of artists and teachers.

Siskind directed that his estate become a resource that would support contemporary photography and reward and encourage excellence in its practitioners. Since his death in 1991, the Aaron Siskind Foundation has been one of the few American organizations providing cash grants to individual photographic artists on a yearly basis. The Individual Photographer's Fellowship (IPF) review panel examines the work of upwards of 1,000 applicants each year, awarding a varying number of grants in amounts of up to $10,000.

Eligible work must be based on the idea of the lens-based still image, but grant recipients work in forms as diverse as digital imagery, installations, documentary projects and photo-generated print media. Whether they are established achievers or emerging talents, the foundation recognizes each recipient's potential to contribute to the medium in its largest sense.

The foundation falls into the smallest category of American private foundations. Within the limits of its resources, it also works to preserve and protect Aaron's artistic legacy, and foster knowledge of and appreciation for his art through new books, exhibits, educational events and scholarly research. It seeks to support contemporary photographic art and art-making through a variety of projects, events and collaborations.