Sharing things … is one of life’s pleasures, isn’t it? A mutually appreciated gift – with delight in the giving and the receiving. It is a gift that requires no more than one sentiment from the giver: I thought you might like this.
So, here I am … thinking you might like this: a 1983 American Masters documentary on the photographer, Alfred Stieglitz: The Eloquent Eye. Director: Perry Miller Adato.
I watched it with a bunch of friends a couple of years ago and we were all blown away by it.
[The documentary] chronicles the life and work of Alfred Stieglitz, with [in rare interviews] reflections by his wife, artist Georgia O’Keefe, and several other important 20th Century American artists and photographers. The film is illustrated with many of Stieglitz’ powerful photographs and demonstrates his singular impact on photography as an art form. Stieglitz’ support and influence on other artists is explored, as are exhibitions of paintings, photography and literary works that he introduced to the public via his New York galleries and his publication “Camera Works”.
It is a masterpiece of a documentary engrossing in its’ history, art, personality and presentation. From the opening black and white photography of a snow-covered, early 20th century New York, the viewer is engaged, drawn into a bygone age, rampant with the flourishing of new creative processes and people.
Fascinated by the commentary, personal interviews – not least with an ancient O’Keeffe, sparse in body, acute in intellect – and the glorious unfolding spectacle of a life’s work, joy and disappointments, I was moved almost to tears by some of the most openly vulnerable and trusting personal, portrait photography, of O’Keeffe by Stieglitz, ever seen.
Photographer, publisher, sponsor, visionary and yet, a man with flaws whose life, like ours, was strewn with the sparkling jewels and bitter ash of success and failure, happiness and despair, light and darkness.
Absorbing. Uplifting. Beautiful. A pleasure to be shared. A gift for all seasons.
On Sunday we had a day of days – a blizzard – snow knee high.
And you should have seen how we enjoyed it. All day out of doors.
I photographing like possessed.
[Georgia] O’Keeffe wandering about in the woods – & rushing down to the lake – All awonder … Beauty everywhere – Nothing but beauty … White – White – White – & soft and clean – & maddening shapes – the whole world in them.
Alfred Stieglitz 1864 – 1946