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Alfred Steiglitz “In 1899 Alfred Stieglitz wrote that photographs of ordinary subjects could have "a permanent value" as art. Countless photography exhibitions and publications have since proved his point.” ~ from Kodak Website
Alfred Stieglitz was born in Hoboken, New Jersey but spent most of his formative years in Germany and continental Europe before returning to the U.S.
~ “The Steerage” 1907
At nine years of age he had his first exposure to photography and was captivated ever since. Alfred pursued studies of engineering at the Technishe Hoschule in Germany. It was here that Alfred learned more about photography with a course on photochemistry.
~ From the Sheraton, New York
He drew knowledge from the photography journals of that time, such as the English journal “The Amateur Photographer” and inspiration from the painters in Europe who were breaking out of the mold of traditional styles.
~The Edge of the Woods at MontsGirard, 1854 Pierre-Étienne-Théodore Rousseau (French, 1812–1867)
He led the Photo-Secession-an attempt to break away from the traditional view of art-and started the journal, “Camera Works” which documented events and news about the upcoming artists. Alfred is most known for his gallery in New York, “The Little Galleries of the PhotoSecession” which would be known simply as “291” for its street location.
Two Towers -- New York, 1911, photogravure National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Alfred Stieglitz Collection
Alfred Stielglitz~Photographer Stieglitz brought new American artists to the public eye for the first time. Also, he exhibited famous European painters for the first time in the U.S., such as Auguste Rodin, Paul Cezanne, and Henri Matisse. ~Henri Matisse Color Lithograph La Danse Published by Revue Verve, 1938
It wasn’t until after the gallery closed (1917) after several years of success that Alfred could continue creating his own photographs.
His first photographs were of simple subjects, common people and places. His later work would be in stark contrast with an eclectic mix of everything from city skyscrapers, to erotic photos of his lover and second wife, Georgia O’Keefe, to serine pictures of the Dutch and their everyday habits.
With Steiglitz’s later photographs, we can see that his style becomes even deeper in emotional interpretation, but he retains his original ideas and passion for photography.
~ “Equivalent”, 1930
Throughout, he sought to bring expression through his work and photographed subjects that had meaning to him.
~ “Hands and Thimble”, 1920