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I can’t  image what it was like to experience the wonders of photography in the early 1900’s but Alfred Steiglitz’s photographs at the NSW Art Gallery provided me with a benchmark for photographic development in the twentieth century. From the palladium print to gelatine to silver and gelatine and ultimately to the pocket sized digital/video camera or the photographic images taken on your iphone and shared with hundreds of friends on Facebook. Steiglitz used the camera as a modern tool but wanted photography to be recognised as an art form. He was unimpressed by machines such as his wife, Georgia O’Keefe’s, motor car but embraced technological developments when it supported his desire for greater abstraction in photographic images such as his prints of constantly changing cloud formations.

Maybe he was concerned more with the manner in which the car liberated O’Keefe and enabled her to drive to New Mexico and spend increasing amounts of time painting in the desert while the aging Steiglitz was restricted to working in New York. The rapidity of change in just a couple of decades, viewed through the lens of Steiglitz and taken in the context of the technological developments and changes in art forms over the last decade led me to contemplate upon my very small place in this ever changing world.

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