Alfred Stieglitz

The Steerage

1907, printed 1915
Category: 
Alfred Stieglitz made this image aboard the SS Kaiser Whilhelm II en route to Europe. He later wrote: "The scene fascinated me: a round straw hat; the funnel leaning left, the stairway leaning right; the white drawbridge, its railings made of chain; white suspenders crossed on the back of a man below; circular iron machinery; a mast that cut into the sky, completing the triangle. I stood spellbound for a while. I saw shapes related to one another – a picture of shapes, and underlying it, a new vision that held me." His much-acclaimed photograph is a virtuoso expression of how the camera can radically transform perception by favouring formal structure over the transmission of facts.
Title
The Steerage
Date
1907, printed 1915
Medium
Photograph
Materials
photogravure
Dimensions
46.6 x 31.9 cm; image: 33.3 x 26.4 cm
Nationality
American
Credit line
Gift of Rosemary Speirs, Ottawa, 1997, in memory of Alan John Walker, Toronto
Accession number
39132