Portfolio No. 32: Camera Work

Camera Work, an unique portfolio of 10 images in Wombat box No. 32.

From 1903 to 1917, 50 issues of Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly appeared, in runs of 1,000 copies for every issue. A platform for debate, it focused on the activities of the American photographers of the Photo Secession, a movement founded in 1902 by Stieglitz, whose aim was the recognition of photography as a fine art and means of personal expression. For 15 years, Camera Work promoted the work of amateur photographers, and later, the work of European modern artists still unknown at the time, like Henri Matisse (1869-1954) or Auguste Rodin (1840-1917).

If the journal glorifed photography, it also celebrated the art of the print. With the tne grain and contrast quality approaching those of a drawing, the photographic reproductions in Camera Work are beautifully executed. From the cover to the typography, painstakingly designed by Edward Steichen (1879-1973), Stieglitz was determined to ensure the journal’s excellence, and elegance: a cover in green chiffon, prints on delicate Japanese tissue mounted on textured paper, and reproductions touched up by hand. Each photogravure was handcrafted in the printing workshop in New York from original negatives, supervised personnally by Stieglitz and the photographers.

In 1917, financial diffculties caused by high production costs, multiple production delays, a sudden drop in subscriptions and World War II, forced Stieglitz to put an end to Camera Work. Today the complete collection of photographic prints reveals a uniquely preserved artistic project, evaluated at upwards of 90,000 dollars. 

To receive this portfolio, order Wombat No. 32

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