“In an unprecedented show for the National Arts Club [New York] in 1902, Stieglitz brought together photographs by pictorialists…. He titled the exhibition “The Photo-Secession,” to indicate a revolt from hackneyed style and technique as well as from lax artistic standards.” Alan Trachtenberg, notes to “Pictorial Photography” by Alfred Stieglitz Avant-garde Modernist photographyAlfred Stieglitz and the Photo-Secession 1902 publication
Clarence White (American, 1871-1925) Portrait of Alfred Stieglitz, 1908gum platinum print Stieglitz, photograph of Fountain, by Marcel Duchamp,1917
(left) Alfred Stieglitz, 291--Picasso-Braque Exhibition, 1915, platinum print(right) Stieglitz at the Little Galleries of Photo-Secession ('291')291 Fifth Avenue, New York, opened in 1905 291 gallery was in the apartment vacated by Edward Steichen, who designed and decorated the exhibition space. Cubist collages exhibited with African sculpture
Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946), Watching for the Return, 1894, photogravure for Camera Notes, quarterly publicationof the New York Camera Club
“My picture, Fifth Avenue, Winter, is the result of a three hours stand during a fierce snow-storm on February 22nd, 1893, awaiting the proper moment.… I remember how upon having developed the negative of the picture I showed it to some of my colleagues. They smiled and advised me to throw away such rot…. Such were the remarks made about what I knew was a piece of work quite out of the ordinary, in that it was the first attempt at picture making with the hand camera in such adverse and trying circumstances from a photographic point of view. Stieglitz, “The Hand Camera – Its Present Importance,” 1897 Stieglitz, Fifth Avenue, Winter, 1892, gelatin dry plate
Alfred Stieglitz, A Bit of Venice, 1894, photogravure for Camera Notes, quarterly publicationof the New York Camera Club
THE PHOTOGRAVURE PROCESS Invented by Karel Klí in 1879, photogravure is a photomechanical process (heliogravure in French) using an etching method to reproduce the appearance of a continuous range of tones in a photograph. Alvin Langdon Coburn (British working in the US and Britain,1882-1966) Self-Portrait, ca. 1908, photgravure
Stieglitz, Flatiron Building, 1902, photogravure. Hiroshige Ando, Plum Estate, Kameido, 1857, woodblock print
Alfred Stieglitz, The Hand of Man, photogravure From Camera Work No. 1. February 1903(right) Claude Monet, Saint-Lazare Station, 1877Pictorialism and Impressionism In 1903 Stieglitz launched, edited and published Camera Work - a magazine which became world famous and continued publication until 1917 (50 issues). Cover by Edward Steichen is in the Arts & Crafts aesthetic of William Morris.
Alfred Stieglitz, The Steerage, 1907, photogravure "There were men and women and children on the lower deck of the steerage.... I longed to escape from my surroundings and join them.... A round straw hat, the funnel leaning left, the stairway leaning right.... round shapes of iron machinery... I saw a picture of shapes and underlying that, the feeling I had about life..." Stieglitz
“As analytic cubism emerged, Alfred Stieglitz, who was still championing pre-modernist Phot-Secession Pictorialism, underwent a transformation in his aesthetic thinking.” Hirsch Picasso, Ma Jolie, 1911 Analytic Cubism Alfred Stieglitz, The Steerage, 1907, photogravure
“There were two stages in his life: at first he produced somewhat romanticized pictures of an Impressionistic style, then later moving over to realism of a high order.” Robert Leggett A History of Photography
Edward Steichen (Luxembourgeois-born American Photographer, 1879-1973), Flatiron Building, 1907, cyanotype - gum bichromate - platinum print Pictorialism / Photo-Secession “The Pictorialists played on photography's ability to recall memories and associations, yet they also recognized that such memories are rarely sharply defined but more often dreamlike and indistinct, composed of nothing more than a small incident or passing glance.”
Edward Steichen, Self-Portrait with Brush and Palette, 1902, gum bichromate Reinforcing the idea of a singular masterpiece, the pictorialists manipulated their images so extensively in the darkroom that, often, the result was a unique image that could not be duplicated.
Edward Steichen (1879–1973): Moonrise – Mamaroneck, New York, 1904, New York, Museum of Modern Art, platinum, cyanotype, and ferroprussiate print, 15¼ × 19". Gift of the photographer.
Edward Steichen, The Pond – Moonlight, 1904, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; multiple gum bichromate over platinum, 15¼ × 19". This print was auctioned in New York in February 2006 and sold for the highest price to date for an art photograph.
Steichen made three prints of this image of a pond on Long Island. Steichen and Stieglitz were ardent advocates of photography-as-art, but it wasn't until 1910 that the first photography collection was bought by a respected American museum, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. The New York Museum of Modern Art didn't mount an exhibition of photography until 1937.
Edward Steichen, The Big White Cloud, Lake George, 1903. Carbon print Pictorialism / Photo-Secession “For practically the first time in photography, the specificity and individuality of the objects in front of the camera were of no importance, but were only a vehicle for the expression of an idea. By divorcing photography from its scientific heritage, pictorial photographers also divorced it from reality.”
Gertrude Käsebier (American Photographer, 1852-1934) Blessed Art Thou among Women, 1899. Platinotype Pictorialism / Photo-Secession
Gertrude Käsebier, Manger, ca. 1905, platinotype Pictorialism / Photo-Secession “To name an object is to suppress three-quarters of the enjoyment to be found in the poem .. . suggestion, that is the dream.” Stéphane Mallarmé French Symbolist poet J.M. Cameron, 1865
Clarence H. White (American, 1871-1925), Untitled (Nude Study), 1906-09 platinotype Pictorialism / Photo-Secession
Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keeffe, 1918. Platinotype, one of the series of 300 taken between 1917 and 1933 that comprise Stieglitz’s portrait of O’Keefe Stieglitz's “Portrait” of Georgia O'Keeffe (American painter 1887 - 1986) whom he exhibited and met in 1917, married in 1924.(right) O’Keefe, Drawing XIII, 1915, charcoal on paper; 24 3/8 x 18 1/2 in. Stieglitz exhibited this series of drawings and paintings by O’Keefe at 291 in 1917
Alfred Stieglitz,Georgia O’Keeffe, 1920, Gelatin Silver Print Georgia O'Keeffe, Large Dark Red Leaf on White, 1925
(left) Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe - Hands, 1919. Palladiotype (right) Auguste Rodin (French sculptor,1840-1917, Hand, bronze, 1886 Stieglitz’s aesthetic of fragmentation, his composite portrait (300 parts) of O’Keefe is influenced by Rodin, Brancusi, Picasso, and other modern artists he exhibited in 291 gallery.
In 1922, Stieglitz turned to nature and back to Symbolist theory, isolating the sky as a “surrogate heart.” Alfred Stieglitz, Clouds, Music No. 1, Lake George, palladium print. 1922.
Alfred Stieglitz, Equivalent, 1929. GSP Abstract photography
Alfred Stieglitz, Equivalent, 1931. Gsp. Stieglitz believed that his Equivalents were the pure expression of his inner state of being. He rarely, if ever, explained in words what actual feelings or emotions were present when particular pictures were made, however. He expected that his audience would have an intuitive perception of their meaning that was parallel to the instinct that caused them to be created. - The Getty Museum
AMERICAN SOCIAL DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY Jacob Riis
Jacob Riis (American, born Denmark 1849 – 1914) Five Cents Lodging, Bayard Street, c. 1889 “We cannot get rid of the tenements that shelter two million souls in New York today, but we can set about making them at least as nearly fit to harbor human souls as might be." Jacob Riis, The Making of an American
“[Jacob Riis] was one of my truest and closest friends. I have ever prized the fact that once, in speaking of me, he said, ‘since I met him he has been my brother.’ I have not only admired and respected him beyond measure, but I have loved him dearly…and I mourn him as if he were one of my own family." -Theodore Roosevelt Introduction to Making of An American Jacob Riis, Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen; 1904
Jacob A. Riis, Bandits' Roost, Mulberry Street, 1888, gelatin silver print
Lewis Hine (American 1874-1940),Young Russian Jewess, Ellis Island, New York, 1905. Gsp.
Ellis Island Series: Hine had to set up his 5 x 7 view camera on its tripod, focus the camera, pull the slide, dust his flash pan with powder, and, because of the language barrier, indicate through his own look and gesture the desired pose and expression. The flash pan exploded and an exposure was made, producing a blinding cloud of smoke. Hine would then pack up and leave; one shot was all he had. Lewis Hine, Italian Family Looking for Lost Baggage - Ellis Island , 1905. Gsp.
Lewis Hine, East European Jewish immigrant, Ellis Island series, 1905 “Ever – the Human Document to keep the present and future in touch with the past.” - Lewis Hine
Lewis Hine, Handicapped - Crippled Steelworker, Pittsburgh, ca 1908-1909. Gsp.From ThePittsburg Survey commissioned by Charities and the Commons(See Trachtenberg, “Lewis Hine: The World of His Art”) “The dictum, then, of the social worker is ‘Let there be light;” and in this campaign for light we have for our advance agent the light writer – the photograph.” Lewis Hine, “Social Photography”
Lewis Hine, Italian immigrant, East Side, New York City. 1910. Gsp. Honoré Daumier, Laundress on the Quai d'Anjou, c.1860, oil on wood panel, 11 x 8”
Hine’s “best known and most effective pictures …were of child laborers in many industries across the country. As staff photographer for the National Child Labor Committee [beginning in 1908], Hine traveled thousands of miles, gathering visual evidence of violations of child labor laws.” Alan Trachtenberg, notes for Hines’ essay, “Social Photography” (left) Lewis Hine, Boy carrying home work from New York sweatshop, 1912. Gsp. (right) Gustave Courbet, Stonebreakers, oil on canvas, 1849-50, destroyed WWII
(left) John Sloan [American Ashcan School Painter, 1871-1951], Red Kimono on the Roof, oil on canvas, 1912, New York City(right top) Robert Henri [American Ashcan School Painter 1865-1929] Romany Girl, oil on canvas, c.1909, New York City (Crocker Museum, Sacramento)The Ashcan School Hine, Lunchtime, 1915 Lewis Hine, Street Child, ca 1910
Montage poster from Child Labor Bulletin 3 “There is work which profits the children, and there is work that brings profit only to employers…” Lewis Hine “The High Cost of Child Labor” Child Labor Bulletin 3 (1914-15)
Lewis Hine, Midnight at the Brooklyn Bridge, 1906. Gsp. “Now, let us take a glance under Brooklyn Bridge at 3 a.m. on a cold, snowy night. While these boys we see there wait, huddled, yet alert, for a customer, we might pause to ask where lies the power in a picture. Whether it be a painting or a photograph, the picture is a symbol that brings one immediately into close touch with reality.” Lewis Hine, “Social Photography”
HINE’S AESTHETIC Hine, Self-Portrait with Newsboy, 1908, New York City • Most effective when non-essentials are eliminated. • Straight forward portraiture. • Subject aware of process and collaborating with Hine. • Not exploitive. • Subjects always maintain their dignity. • Sophisticated spatial constructions. • Selective focus. • Telling details. • Strong use of light and tonality. • Expressive subjects.
They were bent over 14-16 hours a day, 6 days a week separating coal from slag for 75 cents a day. - Lewis Hine
Then the pieces rattled down through long chutes at which the breaker boys sat. These boys picked out the pieces of slate and stone that cannot burn. It's like sitting in a coal bin all day long, except that the coal is always moving and clattering and cuts their fingers. - Lewis Hine
Hundreds and hundreds of boys work in the mines and in the breakers early morning until evening, instead of going to school and playing outdoors. Lewis Hine, “Mr. Coal's Story,”Child Labor Bulletin, August, 1913
Lewis Hine, Boy Running "Trip Rope" in a Mine, Welch, WV, 1908. “All along I had to be doubly sure that my photo-data was 100% pure – not retouching or fakery of any kind. This had its influence on my continued use of straight photography.” - Lewis Hine“To be ‘straight’ for Hine meant more than purity of photographic means; it meant also a responsibility to the truth of vision.” - Alan Trachtenberg