Photography - Icy Night | Artopia


A Closer Look

Icy Night has many of the qualities of the sort of photographAlfred Stieglitz and his fellow “Pictorialists” liked to take. They believed the photographer could shape everyday scenes like this city street, thereby creating a work of art. They strived for a mysterious mood with lots of dark areas such as the tops of trees in this picture. The shadows cast by the trees also add to the dark atmosphere of the photograph. What other techniques does Stieglitz use to create a particular feeling in Icy Night?

About the Media

When photography first became popular many people did not consider photographs art because they were made by a machine. Alfred Stieglitz helped to change that. He led a movement called Pictorialism, which argued that a photograph is just as much a work of art as a drawing or painting is. His early photographs, like Icy Night, often used the weather as a way to create atmosphere. In this picture the fog of a cold winter night in the city softens the street lamps, providing a contrast to the sharp focus of the trees in the foreground.

About the Artist

Alfred Stieglitz was a photographer and editor as well as being an advocate and exhibitor of other artists. In 1905 he established gallery "291" in New York City where he showed photographs and promoted photography as an art form. Later he included painters of the French Modern Art movement, introducing to the U.S. the work of Cezanne, Picasso and other great artists. He was married to the American painter, Georgia O’Keefe.

Write About It

  • Make a list of what you see in the photograph.
  • How does the photographer use the elements and principles of design?
  • What is your opinion of the photograph? How does it make you feel?