• Recto of print
  • Verso of original mount
  • Photomicrograph showing print surface (scale bar is in millimeters)
  • Photomicrograph showing print surface (scale bar is in micrometers)
  • Exhibition view showing a print of the work in American Pictorial Photography (1902)
  • A photogravure reproduction of this work in Camera Work

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864–1946)

An Icy Night, New York, 1898

Carbon print; 26 x 34 cm (image/paper/mount)
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949.689


After the English photographer Paul Martin showed his night photographs at the 1896 Royal Photographic Society exhibition and published his methods in the Amateur Photographer, night photography—taken without the benefit of additional gas or electric light—found many adherents. Stieglitz also tried his hand at the technique and was proud to report that in contrast to Martin’s exposure time of a half hour, his was a mere 58 seconds. Stieglitz’s innovation was to embrace, for pictorial purposes, what Martin attempted to conceal: “Paul Martin’s work shows an entire lack of halation around his lights, which, although speaking well for his technical skill in mastering the photographic bugbear halation, is a decided shortcoming from a pictorial point of view. We do not wish to say that halation galore improves night-work in which the illuminating source is included, but a certain amount of it certainly gives a more sincere and picturesque rendering of he object itself.”[1] Handwritten pencil notations on the verso referring to framing dimensions indicate that this was likely an exhibition print.


Additional resources related to this object are to the right. Comprehensive material analysis can be found in the Object Research PDF.


[1] Alfred Stieglitz, “Night Photography with the Introduction of Life,” American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1898, reprinted in Richard Whelan, ed., Stieglitz on Photography: His Selected Essays and Notes (Aperture, 2000), p. 83.