Camera Work: The Vital Force Behind A New Way of Seeing A Media Studies Program Senior Thesis

Class Year


Access Type

Archival Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Media Studies Program

First Advisor

Molly Nesbit

Second Advisor

M. Mark


Photographer and journal editor Alfred Stieglitz has been credited with evolving an American style of looking at photography. After attempting to develop its recognition as an art form from within the gallery setting, Stieglitz seized an opportunity to instigate change from outside of an art realm already dominated by painting. My thesis concerns the transition from the gallery wall to the journal page as a space for display, and how Stieglitz’s use of his quarterly photographic journal Camera Work, alongside his many other gallery pursuits and interests in modern European art, ultimately developed a new way of regarding photographs as representations of modern artistic expression. Essentially subverting everything that he was told he and his camera could not accomplish, Stieglitz took what fascinated him the most about photography and what it could manage to convey, and turned it on its head. Through Camera Work and the gallery space 291, he intersected various art forms and styles as a means of breaching the assumed limitations of photography and bolstering their rank among art forms that had already been accepted for centuries as legitimate ways of representing the world. Stieglitz determined that not only are photographs a valid form of artistic expression, but they can accomplish everything that other art forms can accomplish, and more.

Please contact Archives and Special Collections
to view this item.