Camera Work

Camera Work was a quarterly photographic publication by Alfred Stieglitz and the Photo-Secessionists from 1902 to 1917 that was known for its high-quality reproductions and its effort to establish photography as a fine art.

In 1893 Alfred Stieglitz was editor of American Amateur Photographer but his brusque, autocratic editorial style alienated many subscribers. After being forced to resign in 1896, Stieglitz turned to the New York Camera Club and retooled its newsletter into a serious art periodical known as Camera Work. He announced that every published image would be a picture, not a photograph. In 1902 Stieglitz formed an invitation-only group, which he called the Photo-Secession, to force the art world to recognize photography "as a distinctive medium of individual expression." Among its members were Edward Steichen, Gertrude Kasebier, Clarence Hudson White and Alvin Langdon Coburn. Photo-Secession held its own exhibitions and became the publisher of Camera Work.

In the inaugural issue, 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."

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.

In addition to photography, Camera Work also reproduced works of modern art, such as Rodin and Matisse before these works were well known. Due to continuing financing difficulties and the high cost of reproductions, Camera Work ceased publication in 1917. Camera Work legacy remains that it was a forum for redefining the artistic goals of photography.

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