For Day #219 of the 365 Days of Art: The Steerage, by Alfred Stieglitz
Date: 1907, printed before 1913
From the MET (here): "As proprietor of the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession and publisher of the photographic journals Camera Notes and Camera Work, Alfred Stieglitz was a major force in the promotion and elevation of photography as a fine art in America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Steerage is considered Stieglitz's signature work, and was proclaimed by the artist and illustrated in histories of the medium as his first "modernist" photograph. It marks Stieglitz's transition away from painterly prints of Symbolist subjects to a more straightforward depiction of quotidian life.The Steerage began its life as a masterpiece four years after its creation, with Stieglitz's publication of it in a 1911 issue of Camera Work devoted exclusively to his photographs in the "new" style, together with a Cubist drawing by Picasso. Stieglitz loved to recount how the great painter had praised the collage-like dispersal of forms and shifting depths of The Steerage. Canonized retroactively, the photograph allowed Stieglitz to put his chosen medium on par with the experimental European painting and sculpture he imported and exhibited so presciently at his gallery. In 1915, he lavishly reprinted the image in large-scale photogravure on both vellum and Japanese paper for inclusion in his last magazine, 291."
"By 1917, Stieglitz’s thinking about photography had begun to shift. Whereas, at the turn of the century, the best method for proving the legitimacy of photography as a creative medium seemed to suggest appropriating the appearance of prints, or watercolor in finished photographic prints, such practices began to seem wrongheaded by the end of World War I" (read the rest here).
Stieglitz is also noted for his hundreds of photos of Georgia O'Keeffe, so I had to include one: