[Writer and critic, b. 1895, Flushing, New York, d. 1990, New York.]
A picture was once a rare sort of symbol, rare enough to call for attentive concentration. Now it is the actual experience that is rare, and the picture has become ubiquitous.
Deliberately, on every historic occasion, we piously fake events for the benefit of photographers, while the actual event often occurs in a different fashion; and we have the effrontery to call these artful dress rehearsals “authentic historic documents.”
Stieglitz conceived, though he never carried out, a series of photographs of the heads of stallions and mares, of bulls and cows, in the act of mating, hoping to catch in the brute an essential quality that would symbolize the probably unattainable photograph of a passionate human mating.
As for the various kinds of montage photography, they are in reality not photography at all but a kind of painting in which photography is used—as pastiches of textiles are used in crazy-quilts—to form a mosaic. Whatever value the montage may have derives from painting rather than the camera.
It was Stieglitz’s endeavor... to translate the unseen world of tactile values as they develop between lovers not merely into the sexual act but the entire relation of two personalities—to translate this world of blind touch into sight.