Alfred Stieglitz

by jorrphoto

Alfred Stieglitz was an American photographer who is recognised as being hugely important in making photography an accepted art form during his career. Of particular interest to me is his series of work, ‘Equivalents’. It includes around 220 images, each of which features clouds in the sky. The majority of them show the sky without any horizon, although a small number do include hills and trees. The following text is taken from the Phillips Collection website:

“Stieglitz photographed clouds from 1922 into the thirties. A symbolist aesthetic underlies these images, which became increasingly abstract equivalents of his own experiences, thoughts, and emotions. The theory of equivalence had been the subject of much discussion at Gallery 291 during the teens, and it was infused by Kandinsky’s ideas, especially the belief that colors, shapes, and lines reflect the inner, often emotive “vibrations of the soul.” In his cloud photographs, which he termed Equivalents, Stieglitz emphasized pure abstraction, adhering to the modern ideas of equivalence, holding that abstract forms, lines, and colors could represent corresponding inner states, emotions and ideas.”

The variety of clouds that Stieglitz uses in his work is particularly interesting to me, and something I hope to show in my own work. Stieglitz also shows the sheer size of the clouds and portrays them in an almost menacing way. Size is another area I hope to explore in my own work. A few examples of images from his ‘Equivalents’ series can be seen below.