Stieglitz – craft cycle

Photography is selection. We pick from the world. We notice those items, not all, some. To nourish, we may edit — we leave out what doesn’t fit or feed. We read into what we read. However, reading the lines is always better than reading between them.

An overview. Key points of production

  • 1921 Exhibits carbon prints, palladium prints, photogravures, platinum prints, and silver prints.

  • 1924 Exhibits silver prints. expresses concerns to Kodak about permanence of silver prints.

  • 1931: (part of this is used by Merg in defense of his position. Read the whole part to find your own truth)

    My photographs do not lend themselves to reproduction. The very qualities that give them their life would be completely lost in reproduction. The quality of touch in its deepest living sense is inherent in my photographs. When that sense of touch is lost, the heartbeat of the photograph is extinct. In the reproduction it would become extinct — dead. My interest is in the living. That is why I cannot give permission to reproduce my photographs.”

    (Shortly thereafter:) “As for reproductions, I feel that if the spirit of the original is lost, nothing is preserved. My work might be reproduced if properly interpreted, that is, the spirit might be preserved. Of course, some of the things can’t possibly be reproduced for obvious reasons. Above all, the reproductions must have a clean feeling— an absolute integrity of their own.”

  • 1932 Exhibits silver prints, palladium prints, and platinum prints. Uses Azo paper. “to know what they would look like on commercial paper”

  • 1938 Makes last prints

  • 1944. final years. Exhibits carbon prints, photogravures, and platinum prints. No more silver prints shown.

My ideal is to achieve the ability to produce numberless prints from each negative, prints all significantly alive, yet indistinguishably alike, and to be able to circulate them at a price no higher than that of a popular magazine or even a daily paper. To gain that ability there has been no choice but to follow the path that I have chosen. [Alfred Stieglitz, catalogue preface to
his exhibition at the Anderson Galleries, 1921]

“In 1924 Stieglitz began (nope:he’d been printing prior to his ’21 statement) printing with silver while stating:

The quality of touch in its deepest living sense is inherent in my photographs. When that sense of touch is lost the heartbeat of the photograph is extinct. In the reproduction it would become extinct — dead. My interest is in the living.

He had moved on from his 1921 statement noted in the above post regarding reproduction.” Merg LFF in defense of position against scanning+printing inkjet pathway. Sometimes our interests don’t serve us as well as what we declare.

I lost much respect for Merg.

He should be able to express himself. Use his words rather than cut and paste from an archive like some kidnapper’s ransom note.


actually he said: [ extracted in the above timeline: 1931]

  • McCabe, Constance. “Coatings on Photographs by Alfred Stieglitz.” In Coatings on Photographs: Materials, Techniques, and Conservation, edited by Constance McCabe, 300–313. Washington, DC: American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, 2005.
  • Wagner, Sarah S. “Manufactured Platinum and Faux Platinum Papers, 1880s–1920s.” In Platinum and Palladium Photographs: Technical History, Connoisseurship, and Preservation, edited by Constance McCabe, 144–183. Washington, DC: American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, 2017.
  • Whelan, Alfred Stieglitz: A Biography
  • Frank, America and Alfred Stieglitz: A Collective Portrait
  • Norman, Alfred Stiedlgitz:An American Seer
  • History of Photography 20, no. 4 (1996), Alfred Stieglitz, 1864-1946.

The following institutions also house portions of the Alfred Stieglitz Collection:

  • Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
  • Carl Van Vechten Gallery, Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee
  • George Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York
  • Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
  • National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Two Moons

Sarah Moon.Beth Moon.

First, they aren’t the same person. Not the same work. Not the same method. They do seem, in some ways, to talk to the same meaning.

Sarah Moon(born Marielle Warin; 1941) is a French photographer.Initially a model, she turned to fashion photography in the 1970s. Since 1985, she has concentrated on gallery and film work.

“By using the longest lasting photographic process, I hope to speak about survival, not only of man and nature’s but to photography’s survival as well. For each print I mix ground platinum and palladium metals, making a tincture that is hand-coated onto heavy watercolor paper and exposed to light. There are many steps involved in creating the final print and these are as important to me as the capturing of the image,” said (Beth) Moon. A platinum print can last for centuries, drawing on the common theme of time and survival, pairing photographic subject and process.

How do they overlap? Subject choice. Sure, but how many subjects for the camera are there. What isn’t a prior link. How they are treated? Maybe more-so this. The sensation within me. Yep. that has it, even though that is the least transferable to you. My sensation is a limited exchange system to share.

Being able to find work, to find something to point at is one part of making work. More important to the making is being able to describe it. To translate it is a necessary part of transforming. Absorbing work may mean you don’t have to make anything similar. You don’t need to duplicate the work. That is what the Moons are for me. I don’t have to do this work, nor anything like them. These are sufficient. I can even avoid their process notes, notions, goals, ambitions. Two reasons: I don’t want to do them; I don’t have to do them.

Do I have a preference? Yes. I much prefer Sarah Moon to Beth Moon. They way they think is clear, is different to each other. Sarah talks about the experience of making pictures; the world of camera and subject. Beth Moon spends her words on technique of printing; she is about overcoming process limitations. Her world uses the world of things, but done to make something more permanent than them. Beth converts; Sarah conveys.