"Wherever there is light, one can photograph." – Alfred Stieglitz
In the old times, photography was considered a branch of science, not a form of art, because cameras were machines and only people created art. This belief changed when pictorialism, a movement that promoted photography as an art, enlightened the world. The prophet of this highlight in photographic history was none other than Alfred Stieglitz, an American photographer, who was an engineer by profession.
One of Stieglitz’s usual subjects portrayed the radical transformations of American culture and society. Some of his photographs showed New York with stoned alleys and horse-drawn carriages and later on, these changed into towering buildings which signified the dawn of a new age.
He used photography as a medium to embrace the modern art scene and utilized the atmosphere and weather to create the soft-focused mood he preferred. He liked photographs which closely resemble what the human eye could naturally see. He was a perfectionist and was meticulous about line and shape balance.
Two of Stieglitz’s major works were his journals that promoted pictorialism and secessionism, Camera Notes and Camera Work, both of which he painstakingly founded and edited. In his other major work called Equivalents, he focused on clouds. He also frequently photographed his wife, Georgia O’Keeffe, a renowned painter.
Take a look at his masterful photographs which were taken during the late 1800s ’til the early 1900s:
Which of these Alfred Stieglitz photographs strike your liking the most? What other classic portrait photographers would you like to be written about? Read more about the Best of the Best Series.
basterda is a member of the Lomography team in Manila. She has been dealing with your Customer Service concerns since August of 2010 and is now also contributing to the magazine. Influential Photographs is also one of her ongoing series for the Lifestyle section.