Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Historical Photographer Presentation: Alfred Stieglitz

Alfred Stieglitz was born in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1864 to a rather affluent family. He attended school in Germany to become a mechanical engineer. While in school he experimented with photography and eventually went to New York in 1890 to begin his photography career. He was famous for his desire to prove that photography was a valid medium. He believed that photos were equivalent to painting or sculpture in terms of their ability to convey artistic expression. In 1893 he was offered and he accepted the job of co-editor of The American Amateur Photographer magazine. In May of 1896 he successfully joined the two photography clubs of New York the Society of Amateur Photographers and the Camera Club to form The Camera Club of New York. The Camera Club went on to produce a magazine by the name of Camera Notes, which quickly rose in popularity around the globe. In 1902 he began printing the visual magazine Camera Work. During the length of his extensive career Stieglitz produced more than 2,500 mounted photographs.

This photograph, taken in 1931 from Stieglitz's 13th floor apartment of the Shelton Hotel exemplifies Stieglitz's documentation of the changing New York City skyline. Propelled by his fascination with prolonged viewings, he illustrated the play of light and shadow on the buildings of the city, particularly this view of Radio City Music Hall, and what detail is revealed through the act of looking.

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