Photography in the arts was, at a time, thought of as nothing more than people taking a cheap route in portrait making and image creation. Many critiques believed that photography was not as refined and articulate as painting was. However, the only reason for this is because photography around the time of Alfred Stieglitz had only been around for about 80 years, while painting has been around for thousands of years, giving painting the edge of having enough time to develop.
What photography needed was radical anarchists and free-spirits who were willing to delve into new concepts, and get people to think about not what is just in the photograph, but what the parts of the photograph represents. Much like the double exposure image of Dorothy True’s leg with her face in it. It wasn’t a normal picture of just some woman’s leg in a tight shoe, the accidental addition of her face to the image gave it a sort of new identity. Accidents were not the only way for people to explore artistic creativity in photography. Stieglitz blurred image of the stagecoach in the snow was blurred on purpose. Stieglitz was criticized for the image not being clear, even though to him it was perfect for what he was trying to capture. But it isn’t just technological techniques that made an image artistic. An excellent example is the naked portraits Alfred Stieglitz took of Georgia O’Keeffe. Most people saw people without clothing in art, but that was mostly based in paintings and drawings. This was the bare human form, as it truly is. No mistakes, no disproportions. It was real, and it got people thinking. People didn’t just see it as a naked woman who got her picture taken, it had tension to it, it was dynamic, and it was radically drastic from many photographs before it. It was not of the norm during that time, and that is what makes it powerful.