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Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)


Also known as:  Steiglitz, Alfred

Birth Place: Hoboken (Hudson county, New Jersey, United States)

Through his many roles in the art world— artist, gallerist, critic— Alfred Stieglitz single handedly formed the reputation of photography as a medium of repute. Stieglitz was born in New Jersey in 1964, and in 1881 moved to Germany with his family. It was here that Stieglitz attended the Technische Hochschule technical high school and trained as a mechanical engineer. As part of his studies, Stieglitz took at photochemistry course and fell love with the medium.

When Stieglitz returned to America in 1890, he came with the mission of carving a place for photography as a serious artistic medium as deserving of artistic merit as traditional mediums such as painting or sculpture.

In 1896, Stieglitz joined the Camera Club of New York and became the editor for their publication, Camera Notes. Through this publication, Stieglitz shared his ideas for the forward movement of photography as a serious medium. In 1903, Stieglitz and a few like-minded photographers broke off from the Camera Club formed Photo-Secession, a photography club that advocated for the photographic medium. In 1905, he founded his first gallery, Gallery 291, as a place for Photo-Secession to present their work and the work of other international photographers. This gallery became a venue for critics, artists, and other players in the art world to debate photography and its merits.

Later in his life Stieglitz would open two other galleries that further exposed the public to photography. Throughout his career, Stieglitz also created an oeuvre that greatly influenced the photographic aesthetic. Though the Stieglitz and his peers emphasized the artist’s hand in making prints as equivalent to a painter, it was actually Steiglitz’s composition and use of nature that earned his work international recognition.

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