Closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday
First Friday of each month: 11am - 9pm
Additional hours by appointment.
March 16–July 2, 2016
At the close of the nineteenth century, artists using the photographic medium in America and Europe were seeking to create images that evoked both thought and heightened feeling within the viewer. The printing method by which the photograph was conveyed was of primary importance in this endeavor. A number of processes (including the use of platinum paper or pigments) were beginning to gain favor among practitioners for their ability to convey subtleties or allow for artistic manipulation. The photogravure—a method by which an original image is transferred to a metal plate for printing—was also becoming widely used at this time, especially when limited-edition renderings in toned inks or pigments were desired.
In 1902, Alfred Stieglitz initiated a forum by which like-minded creative photographers could exhibit their work, cultivate ideas within pictorial aesthetics, and create a dialogue among people interested in the trends of modern art. Organized as the “Photo-Secession,” this group of artists established a gallery at 291 Fifth Avenue in New York and began a publication that was illustrated with fine photogravure reproductions of their most relevant new work. This quarterly journal was called Camera Work and became the primary mouthpiece by which Stieglitz and his colleagues could not only promote innovative image-making, but also make the case that photography was a legitimate art form. No expense was spared in providing the periodical with the highest quality reproductions, allowing the subscriber’s experience looking at the images to mirror that of seeing finished work in a gallery.
We are pleased to be able to present a selection of plates from Camera Work, highlighting portraits, landscape studies and illustrations contained in editions issued from 1905-1913. Stieglitz’s perseverance and dedication to championing innovative photographic work opened the door for the acceptance of the medium—especially in America—as a valid creative tool. Although the aesthetics of pictorial photography began to wane in the 1920s, the ability of thought-provoking images to move us has continued to the present day.