Alfred Stieglitz

(American, 1864-1946)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 11.9 x 9.2 cm (4 11/16 x 3 5/8 in.); Matted: 45.7 x 35.6 cm (18 x 14 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1988.39



Between 1922 and 1931, Stieglitz worked on
a series of extraordinary photographs of the
sun and clouds that he called “equivalents.”
Each one has its own distinctive forms, tones,
light and shadow patterns, and symbolism.
In this visually engaging, unmanipulated
contact print—rich in light and dark patterns—
he transformed observable information into
abstracted forms. He eliminated all expected
references to reality often found in landscape
photography, creating a sense of disorientation.
The image offers no internal evidence to locate
the work in a time or place, as all indications
of ground or horizon have been banished.
Stripped of their functional properties and
traditional associations as pictorial elements
in a landscape, the clouds become abstract
configurations that Stieglitz saw as equivalents
of emotional tension and spiritual conflict,
representing his internal feelings in flux.

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