Paul Strand (American, 18901976)
Silver–platinum print; 13 x 10 1/4 in. (33.1 x 26.1 cm)
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949 (49.55.318)
© Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive
Skyscrapers and machinesquintessential symbols of modern life in the early twentieth centurywere among Strand's last subjects as he advanced in breathtaking leaps across the landscape of artistic possibilities on the brink of World War I. Duchamp and Picabia had introduced machines into American art when they arrived in New York in 1915, and automobiles capable of going fifty miles an hour were everywhere. "Just at the present the sole ambition seems to be to roll about, day in and day out, every moment in [these] machines. Literally a rolling around in the present symbol of wealth," Alfred Stieglitz noted. Strand, interested in mechanics and cars since childhood, made photographs with the sensuousness of a youth running his hand over the voluptuous fenders of his dream machine.