Alfred Stieglitz: Known and Unknown Works. (Focus on America)

Article excerpt

Alfred Stieglitz: born in Hoboken, N.J., in 1864, lived through some of the most-profound changes the U.S. ever experienced: two world wars, the Great Depression, the transformation of New York into a modern metropolis, and the growth of the country from a rural, agricultural nation into an industrial superpower. While the world was changing around him, Stieglitz became a guiding force in shaping American culture through his work as a photographer and art impresario.

When Stieglitz started taking photographs in the 1880s, the medium was still in its infancy, seen as something to be utilized for recording and descriptive purposes. However, he regarded the camera as a tool, just as a paintbrush is, and was determined to put photography on the same level as other art forms, such as painting and sculpture.

He championed the romanticized images of pictorialism, and often spent hours waiting for just the right atmosphere to develop. Later, the strong geometric shapes of modern painting and flattened images of Japanese printmaking influenced his work, but he decided that photography should not be like painting and embraced sharply focused "straight" photography. …