“The ability to make a truly artistic photograph is not acquired off-hand, but is the result of an artistic instinct coupled with years of labor.” – Alfred Stieglitz

Anne W. Brigman, The Bubble, 1909.











Julia Margaret Cameron
1815 - 1879


Kiss of Peace

Julia Margaret Cameron, The Kiss of Peace-G.G. Watts and Children, c. 1867.











Julia Margaret Cameron, Sir John Frederick William Herschel, 1867.  Albumen print.
Photographer Unknown, Sir John Frederick William Herschel, Date Unknown.











"Theory of Sacrifices"

  • First written defense of photography as art
  • Critic Francis Wey declared that "truth in art does not lie in a ruthless and unintelligent copy of nature, but in a spiritual interpretation."
  • Called for photographers to interpret their subjects
    even if they had to sacrifice detail
Julia Margaret Cameron, Sappho, c. 1866.











Julia Margaret Cameron, Rosebud Garden of Girls, 1868.











"Hers are all taken purposely out of focus - some are very picturesque- some merely hideous- however, she talks of them as if they were triumphs of art." - Lewis Carroll
"What is focus - and who has the right to say what is the legitimate focus?  My aspirations are to enoble photography and to secure for it the character and uses of High Art by combining the real and the ideal." - Cameron
Julia Margaret Cameron, Ellen Terry at Age 16, 1864.









“As an aid to science, as a recorder, as a duplicator, photography has helped advance civilization.  [Yet] it has failed to occupy the place it may yet hold as a means for expressing original thought of a fine order.” – J. Wells Champney, American artist
Claude Monet, Sunset at Lavacourt, 1880.

P.H. Emerson, Gathering Water Lilies, c. 1880s.











P.H. Emerson, Rowing Home the Schoof-Stuff, 1886.











John Constable, The White Horse, 1819.
George Davison, The Onion Field, 1889.











Heinrich Kuhn, Mary Warner and Hans Kuhn, 1865.
Heinrich Kuhn, On a Meadow in Birgitz (Hans and Mary Sitting), c. 1908.











Alfred Stieglitz
1864 - 1946


Alfred Stieglitz, Winter on Fifth Avenue, 1892. (uncropped)
Alfred Stieglitz, Winter on Fifth Avenue, 1892. (cropped)











The Terminal

Alfred Stieglitz, The Terminal, 1892. Photogravure.











Camera Notes featured:

Quality reproductions
Critical reviews
How to articles
Alfred Stieglitz, Hand of Man, 1902.  Photogravure.












Pictorialism = early 20th century photographic movement which promoted the idea that art photography should emulate painting and encouraged the use of soft focus, special filters and lens coatings, heavy manipulation in the darkroom and complex printing processes
Characteristics of Pictorialist style:
  • Valued final image over subject matter
  • Soft focus
  • Simple compositions
  • Cropping of negative
  • Elaborate printing processes
  • photogravure = The process of printing from an intaglio plate, etched according to a photographic image.
William Fraser, A Wet Night, Columbus Circle, c. 1897 - 1898.











1900 "The New School of American Photography" exhibition held in London and Paris


Ebony and Ivory

Fred Holland Day, Ebony and Ivory, 1897.











"We have here merely the excrescences of a diseased imagination, which has been fostered by the ravings of a few luncatics." - The Photographic News

Critics disliked Pictorialism because:
Lack of definition - often called the "fuzzy wuzzy school"
Asymmetrical compositions
Extreme contrasts
Fred Holland Day, Youth Sitting on a Stone, 1907.











1901 Stieglitz left Camera Notes
1902 founded the Photo Secession
  • Invitation only group that included Alfred Stieglitz, Eduard Steichen, Frank Eugene, Gertrude Kaesebier, Joseph Keiley, John Bullcok, Eva Watson-Schutze
  • Consciously exculded themselves from traditional photographic practices that Stieglitz felt were inferior and old-fashioned
  • Wanted to force the art world to recognize photography "as a distinctive medium of individual expression"
1903 established Camera Work
"As far as I'm concerned he took about five good pictures in his whole life, and that was only when he ventured out of himself. He had nothing to do with me or my pictures. Everything had to revolve around him. It was one of the silliest and most outrageous cults I've ever seen. I've never liked any persons or schools that closed other people out." - Berenice Abbott in Art News, January 1981











Frank Eugene, Ms. Ide., c. 1890 - 1903.
Frank Eugene, Miss Gene W., c. 1900s.











Heinrich Kuhn, On the Hillside, 1910.











Portrait of Miss N

Gertrude Kasebier, The Magic Crystal, c. 1904.
Gertrude Kasebier, Portrait of Miss N.,  c.1900.


An interesting account of the murder of Stanford White











Clarence White, Morning Dew, 1908.











Edward Steichen
1879 - 1973


Edward Steichen, Self-Portrait, 1902.











The Brass Bowl

Edward Steichen, The Brass Bowl, 1906.











Characteristics of Steichen's work:
Subjective response to visual world
Photograph used as means of expression
Moody overtones
Edward Steichen, Brooklyn Bridge, 1903.









Edward Steichen, Moonlight: The Pond, 1906.  16" X 19".
In 2006, one of three known copies of Steichen's Moonlight: The Pond sold at auction for $2,928,000 setting a record for the highest price paid for a photograph











1904 Lumiere brothers patented the first viable color photo process, the Autochrome
  • After the kinks in the process were resolved, the process was made available to the public in 1906
  • Transparent image on glass - similar to a modern slide
  • Filter composed of colored potato starch grains
    fixed to the top of the glass plate before exposure
  • During exposure, light traveled through the color screens before hitting the light sensitive emulsion that coated the bottom of the glass allowing selective exposure of the emulsion to color
Heinrich Kuhn, Miss Mary and Edeltrude
at the Hill Crest
, c. 1910.











autochrome close up


More on the autochrome process (in English)