Camera Work

"Camera Work" was a quarterly photographic journal published by Alfred Stieglitz from 1903 to 1917 that was known for its high-quality reproductions and its effort to establish photography as a fine art.

After editing "American Amateur Photographer" from 1893-1896 and then the New York Camera Club's "Camera Notes" until 1902, Stieglitz decided to publish a new magazine of his own, "Camera Work". One of its purposes was to serve as a vehicle for the Photo-Secession, an invitation-only group which he co-founded in 1902 to promote photography as an art form."Camera Work, the Complete Illustrations", Taschen 1997] Much of the work published in Camera Work would come from the Photo-Secession exhibitions he hosted. In the inaugural issue of January 1903, Stieglitz proclaimed that:

"Only examples of such work as gives evidence of individuality and artistic worth, regardless of school, or contains some exceptional feature of technical merit, or such as exemplifies some treatment worthy of consideration, will find recognition in these pages."cite web | authorlink =University of Texas at Austin's Harry Ransom Center | title =Photography's Turning Point: The Journal Camera Work | date =2004-03-05 | url = | accessdate = 2006-12-26 ]

"Camera Work" presented advanced work from American and European photographers and was known for its high quality reproductions. Printed images were hand-pulled photogravures made from original negatives.

Towards the end of its life, "Camera Work" included not only photographic work but reproductions of works of modern art, such as Rodin and Matisse before these works were well known. This change of direction reflected Stieglitz's feeling that painting was moving forward whilst photography as an art form was stagnating. However the inclusion of this non-photographic work was controversial and increasing numbers of readers cancelled their subscriptions.

Due to various reasons including dwindling subscriptions and disillusionment, continuing financing difficulties and the high cost of reproductions, Camera Work ceased publication in 1917, but not before it had returned to its photographic roots by championing the work of newcomer Paul Strand. Camera Work's legacy remains that it was a forum for redefining the artistic goals of photography. [cite web | authorlink =Berkshire Museum | title =Selections from Camera Work, 1903 - 1911 | date =1999-07-08 | url = | accessdate = 2006-12-26 ] It started life championing Pictorialism but ended by promoting Straight photography as epitomised by the work of Paul Strand.

A collection of "Camera Work" was appraised in Philadelphia on a 2007 episode of Antiques Roadshow with an estimate worth of $60,000 to $90,000.


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