Re: Steiglitz & O'Keeffe

From: PhotoGecko Austin ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 05/25/04-10:14:01 PM Z
Message-id: <>


Judy, they are all projective instruments, aren't they--all these

I happen to adore the one of Georgia's fingernails. . . . Sorry, but I

And as for the clouds. . . . Well, I really *wanted* to get them, but I
didn't get them at all. They look like clouds, not at all like the
tormented brooding blood-letting orgies that I've experienced as
Emotions. I mean. . . gimme a break, Alfred. It may be a great cloud,
but it isn't angst or love or perplexity. . . . You know?

So we disagree, and then we agree again. I dunno. It's like a wise
one once asked, as I recall, very early on in PF-- Who gets to decide?

Having been some 50 years or so (give or take several decades along the
way) in life-- I *can* imagine traveling 2000 miles (because 3000 miles
is just too far to go) to get away from someone I'm (yet) passionate
about. . . . And then traveling back again. I can imagine (and this
was my point) Georgia defending the life's work of one she loved. And
so, as I read her comments about Steiglitz's work I wondered
(self-consciously, as I said) what she meant.

Like I said: I dunno.

This conversation reminds me of the heated exchange (or was it just
luke-warm?) on the list a couple of years ago about Ansel Adam and
zones and calendars and greeting cards. Who, I ask you, gets to decide?

The original question (which led to all this projection, for gosh
sakes) was: Is Photography Art?

I have seen plenty of paintings, sculptures, poems, ballets, etc.,
which were absolutely NOT, at all, art. (They just went Thud.) It
isn't about the media or genre or form-- It's about points of contact
in being human and alive and vulnerable and sometimes tragic but
occasionally hopeful. And some photographs do all that magnificently.
Those are art, IMHO. Although we might not agree. . . !

(Katherine will want to see for herself, of course. And we should
check in with Kevin Morris-- if he ever gets back in his office.)

Meanwhile--I still buy the USPS set of photography stamps. And I save
the Steigletz shot of Georgia's fingers for my best-intended envelopes.
  In fact! -- I believe I put one on the envelope that carried my PF
subscription to New York City!

Oy, vey.


Best regards,
John Campbell
PhotoGecko Studios & Gallery
1413 South First Street
Austin, Tx 78704

(512) 797-9375

On Tuesday, May 25, 2004, at 10:06 PM, Judy Seigel wrote:

> On Sun, 23 May 2004, PhotoGecko Austin wrote:
>> I was gratified, reading O'Keeffe's criteria and criticism of
>> photography as art. And I wondered (self-consciously) how much she
>> was
>> influenced by her critical artistic eye. . . and how much by her
>> passion for Steiglitz.
> I think Georgia's "passion" for Steiglitz had somewhat cooled by the
> time
> these writings occurred... notice that she had to travel 2000 miles to
> get
> away from him...
> But generally, I feel it's incumbent on me to inject a sour note into
> this
> discussion, which, except for that mean Kevin Morris, has been all
> sweetness and light -- it's positively unsettling.
> Of all the photographs I heartily dislike in this world (and there are
> several) I find Steiglitz's artsy fartsy picture of Georgia O'Keefe's
> fingernails which has recently degraded the United States mails on a 37
> cent stamp, the most repellent (and intimated as much, albeit more
> delicately, in a P-F #9 item showing it -- page 2.) There are a couple
> more portraits of Georgia with her hands in supposedly sensitive
> rictus by
> Steiglitz. Yuck.
> As for the Equivalents. Here's an old joke:
> Becky and Abie (or maybe it was Mo and Schmo) were looking at a sky
> full
> of beautiful clouds. What does that cloud form remind you of, asks A.
> Sexual intercourse, replies B. Then the winds blew and an entirely
> different formation appeared. Same question. Same answer. This went on
> for a while until A exploded: This doesn't look anything like the last
> one. How can it remind you of sexual intercourse?!!? And B replies,
> "Everything reminds me of sexual intercourse."
> This is not a direct analogy to Steiglitz's cloud "equivalents," but it
> makes the point that clouds look like whatever you want them to look
> like.
> So Steiglitz says clouds are equivalent to emotions... hello?
> I don't dismiss Steiglitz. Especially as a reader of the "regular"
> photography magazines of his period, I appreciate his genius in Camera
> Work (also Camera Notes). But that doesn't mean he wasn't off the
> wall at
> times -- I think we talked about one of his photographs of the awkward
> babe and her fistful of apples last year. And I think the conceit that
> cloud forms are the "equivalent" of emotions is not his shining hour.
> (Who else could have gotten away with it ?)
> But those Georgia throat clutchings are the stuff of comedy.
> Judy
Received on Tue May 25 22:14:49 2004

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