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HomeContentsThemes > American influences on Pictorialism

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In 1896 the Camera Club of the Capital Bicycle Club sponsored the 1896 Washington Salon and Art Photographic Exhibition and it was a tremendous impetus in gaining acceptance for art photography within the USA with fifty of the photographs being purchased by the Smithsonian Institution. Alfred Stieglitz was editing Camera Notes (1897-1903) for the Camera Club of New York and Fred Holland Day was preparing for the The New School of American Photography exhibition he was organizing for the London Royal Photographic Society in 1900 that included works by:
The London exhibition was followed the following year (1901) with the Paris, Photo-Club of Paris also showing The New School of American Photography. It was the photographs shown at these shows and their acclaim that encouraged Alfred Stieglitz to push forward with his own plans in the USA.
 
Camera Notes
Camera Notes 
  
Christian A. Peterson
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On photography
Stieglitz on Photography: His Selected Essays and Notes 
  
Alfred Stieglitz; Richard Whelan; & Sarah Greenough (Compiler)
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A biography
Stieglitz: A Memoir/Biography 
  
Sue Davidson Lowe
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Example work
Alfred Stieglitz: Photographs and Writings 
  
Alfred Stieglitz
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In the United States Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) was a talented photographer and he seemingly had endless enthusiasm for promoting photography through exhibitions, writing and social networking. Following his resignation as editor for Camera Notes in 1903 he promoted his personal vision at the little gallery of the Photo-Secession that he ran somewhat autocratically at 291 on New York's Fifth Avenue. The founding members of the Photo-Secession (which took its name from a modern art movement in Munich) included most of those who had contributed to the 1900 London RPS show organized by Fred Holland Day.
At it's inception it seems that even the members weren't entirely sure if they were included in the group - but acceptance by Alfred Stieglitz was not to be taken lightly and people could fall out of favor and patronage just as easily as they were accepted.
Photo-Secession
 
Alvin Langdon Coburn
Alvin Langdon Coburn: Photographs 1900-1924 
  
Alvin Langdon Coburn; Marianne Fulton; Karl Steinorth (Editor); Nancy Newhall; & Reinhold Misselbeck
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Gertrude Käsebier
Gertrude Kasebier: The Photographer and Her Photographs 
  
Barbara L. Michaels; & Gertrude Kasebier (Photographer)
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Edward Steichen
Steichen's Legacy 
  
Joanna Steichen
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Clarence H. White
Pictorialism into Modernism: The Clarence H. White School of Photography 
  
Clarence H. White (Photographer); Bonnie Yochelson (Editor); & Kathleen A. Erwin (Contributor)
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Almost every photographer of any consequence at the beginning of the twentieth century in the USA and most of Europe was influenced by Alfred Stieglitz. From 1903 to 1917 he was responsible for the production of the quarterly publication Camera Work and it included high quality photogravures stuck onto Japanese tissue by hand. The accompanying articles constantly promoted the view that photography was an art - it should be remembered that this was before museums or private individuals, with very few exceptions, were developing photographic collections.
Camera Work
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Edward Steichen
The Man that Resembles Erasmus 
[Camera Work, 42/43] 
1913
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Baron Adolph de Meyer
A Street in China 
[Camera Work, 40] 
1912
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Frederick H. Evans
Height and Light in Bourges Cathedral 
[Camera Work, 04] 
1903
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Alfred Stieglitz
A Snapshot: Paris 
[Camera Work, 41] 
1911
Camera Work was the key publication of the Pictorialist movement and ran from 1903 until 1917 under the total control of Alfred Stieglitz. The quarterly publication never had a large readership swinging between about 1,000 and 400 subscribers but the influence that it had over photographers and artists of the early Twentieth century was out of all proportion to this. Part of the reason was that the people who contributed photographs for Camera Work also wrote widely in other more popular magazines and also exhibited internationally.
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Camera Work
 
Camera Work: Alfred Stieglitz 
  
Pam Roberts; & Alfred Stieglitz
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The link between painting, sculpture and photography was explicitly made because Camera Work promoted artists such as Rodin, Matisse and Picasso who were developing their reputations at this time. Major photographic exhibitions such as the 1910 show at the Albright Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY, USA) promoted the hanging of photographs in art galleries which was a break through. At this show over 600 photographs hung and 15 photographs purchased for the permanent collection by the museum.
 
Camera Work was expensive to produce and declining sales through the First World War brought about it's cessation of publication in 1917 - but not before it had started to feature the works of Paul Strand who saw pictorialist photography as a dead end and was developing a modernist style.
 
  
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