Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864–1946)
In 1903 a great winter storm left New York City covered with a layer of fresh snow. Alfred Stieglitz seized his hand camera and brought it to Madison Square Park—located blocks from the Camera Club of New York, a frequent haunt of the photographer—where the newly erected Flatiron Building could be seen looming behind the trees. As he later recalled, “I suddenly saw the Flat-Iron Building as I had never seen it before. It looked, from where I stood, as if it were moving toward me like the bow of a monster ocean steamer, a picture of the new America which was in the making.” Later, when his father asked him why he had photographed “that hideous building,” he told him, “That is the new America. It is to America what the Parthenon is to Greece.”
Stieglitz shot several negatives of the scene over the next few days, and he selected this one to be enlarged as a photogravure and included in Camera Work. Many years later, he used a similar negative to make a gelatin silver print, also now in the Alfred Stieglitz Collection at the Art Institute (1949.707). The gelatin silver print is a contact print—uncropped and printed at the exact size of the negative—with a cooler tonality and higher contrast. This differs from the photogravure, which was cropped to emphasize its vertical shape and has a warmer tone and matte surface to provide a softer effect, in keeping with Pictorialist aesthetics.
Additional resources related to this object are to the right.
 Alfred Stieglitz, “I Photograph the Flat-Iron Building,” Twice a Year 14/15 (Fall/Winter 1946/47), reprinted in Richard Whelan, ed., Stieglitz on Photography: His Selected Essays and Notes (Aperture, 2000), p. 113.
 Ibid., p. 114.