Alfred Stieglitz (American, 18641946)
Gelatin silver print; 4 5/8 x 3 5/8 in. (11.8 x 9.2 cm)
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949 (49.55.29)
By photographing clouds, Stieglitz meant to demonstrate how "to hold a moment, how to record something so completely, that all who see [the picture of it] will relive an equivalent of what has been expressed." Stieglitz's choice of intangible vapors as his ostensible subject was telling, for the vagueness of transcendental meaning is not easily sustained by material objects. Whether his equivalents achieved their goal is a question each viewer must answer for himself or herself; that they demonstrated the ineffable dimension of inspiration is without doubt.