Alfred Stieglitz: The Eloquent Eye

The video I have viewed focuses on Alfred Stieglitz, and how he believe photography should be considered an art. Stieglitz is know as the father of modern photography, for his want to show America how to see in a new way. He saw photos in nearly everything around him, even when its subject disgusted him. Stieglitz enjoyed overcoming lighting and weather difficulties, and was always pushing the limits of photography. He was someone who would try new things in ways that no one else would think of, such as setting his camera up in a dark room to take photos. People would call photography out as a cheap way to make art, by making artist lazy while a machine does all the work. Despite these claims, Stieglitz stood by photography being a form of art. Photographers created photos that replicated art, a form known as pictorialism, in order to showcase them as a form of art. Stieglitz however would focus on subjects immediately around him. Stieglitz also began the search for an artist who supported photography as an art, which he find in Edward Steichen. Stieglitz and Steichen worked together to create their art, and even made a magazine together. They also worked together to convert rooms into galleries to display their artwork, displaying what they would consider modern. Stieglitz showcased what he considered “anarchist’s artwork”. He surrounded himself with some of the greatest artists of his time, not limiting art to photography or paintings, but also poets and more. He worked to create a place of free art exchange, to help expand artistic idea. Stieglitz helped give Picasso his first one man show in America in his 291 room in New York. It was due to Stieglitz that Picasso got his works sold to galleries in America. It was after an armory show in New York that Stieglitz felt as if he was getting somewhere with modern art, but he felt American art needed to grow even more. He eventually took on 4 students in order to help develope American art, allowing them to develop their styles in their own way. Later on he also gave George O’keefe a solo exposition, and they described her paintings as what people were trying to do and failing at, yet coming natural to her. After watching this video, I feel as if there is a strong relationship between the arts and photography. Art is an expression of creativity or what moves a person, and photography is a way to capture  It is around 2:13 in the video that a photo stands out to me. Alfred’s exposure of the carriage through the snow, and the dedication he had to taking the photo. He had stood out in a snowstorm for three hours just to wait for the perfect image, which gives a strong sense of his dedication to his work. Even when his colleagues told him to trash his image due to its poor quality he stood by his image, saying it was exactly as he had wanted it. The second image that catches me is at 9:16, a photograph of Stieglitz’s daughter. She was apparently a great subject of his photography, but he put photography above his family. The final image is shown at 49:55, of the face on the leg in the shoe. The oddity of this image is what makes me drawn to it, and the fact that it was created on accident only furthers my curiosity of the image. It almost looks as if the leg is made of the face itself, and it feels as if there could be some sort of meaning behind such a strange and peculiar image.

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