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Photipherals Shares A Thought About Alfred Stieglitz

Finding inspiration & new photographic techniques

Early in his photographic expression, Alfred Stieglitz promoted the photograph as art. He and other “Pictorialists” used the camera as a tool, just as a paint brush or charcoal, pastels or inks are a tool to the artist. The dark room and manipulating images using various papers, emulsions, dogging and burning were part of that artistic expression. Their inspiration parallel the Impressionist painters.

His vision of photography changed, perhaps at the moment he took the image “Steerage” taken in 1907. Stieglitz wrote, “My photographs look like photographs and they therefore can’t be considered art.” Soft, atmospheric images were replaced with sharp focus, a full range of black and whites in the photos. Form and composition were essential elements, seeing “shapes related to one another—a picture of shapes,” but also a story to be told of the interaction people, the human condition and their interaction with their surrounding environment.

His impact on photography and art were profound. To learn more about his shaping of American art and the world of photography here are some interesting resources:

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Museum of Modern 

Stieglitz: PBS Documentary