Brionna Lewis – Emulation

Edward Steichen


Edward Steichen also known as Eduard Jean Steichen was born March 27, 1879 in Luxembourg a country in northwestern Europe. His parents had immigrated to the United States when he was two years old. There they settled in a small city of Hancock in the Upper Peninsula in Michigan in 1881. Edward’s father worked in the copper mines, when his father health became poor they have moved to Milwaukee Wisconsin. There his mother had supported the family by working as a milliner. At the age of 15, Edward served a four-year apprenticeship in a lithographic firm. Around the 1890s he independently studied both painting and photography. He started to apply himself he saw his potential in his art possibilities as he started to understand them more and more. Edward persuaded his strategy pictorialism. Pictorialism is when photographs emulated the mood, manner, or attitude of the paintings and prints that the public confidently held to be works of art. In his early work of photographs, he frequently used the gum-bichromate process in conjunction with platinum or iron-based emulsions, which allowed him a very high degree of control over the image and tended to produce pictures with a superficial resemblance to mezzotints, and wash drawings. Edward’s photographs were first exhibited in the Second Philadelphia Photographic Salon in 1899, and from that point he became a regular exhibitor, and soon a star, in the shows of photography’s fine arts movement. During world war 1 Edward was in command of all aerial photography of the American Expeditionary Force: He retired as lieutenant colonel in 1919 Voulangis France. Edward gave up on painting and stopped the soft-focus and heavily retouched style that had won him fame as a photographer. He used the camera directly, emphasizing sharpness and texture. In 1922 he returned to America and a year later opened a commercial studio in New York, specializing in advertising photography. For Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines he produced fashion illustrations and portraits of outstanding personalities. He closed his studio in 1938 to devote his time to plant breeding. When America entered World War II, he was commissioned lieutenant commander and put in command of all Navy combat photography. he ages of 68 Steichen was named director of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Of the many exhibitions, he created, the largest and most famous was “The Family of Man.” This exhibition of 503 photographs toured throughout America and overseas. The book of the same title became a bestseller. His involvement as a curator helped promote photography to the status of an acknowledged art form. In 1961 Steichen held an exhibition of his own photography at the Museum of Modern Art; a year later he retired to Connecticut. His autobiography, A Life in Photography, appeared in 1963, the same year he was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President John F. Kennedy. In later life Steichen continued to experiment with new photographic techniques. On March 25 1973 in West Redding Connecticut he died. To me Edward is important because he is an artist with different work and much more expanded and creative mindsets. It seems like he was way ahead of his time and he wasn’t afraid to be different. He also do landscape something I am very passionate about when it comes to photography. I like landscape because I love nature, especially sunsets. “Every other artist begins with a blank canvas, a piece of paper the photographer begins with the finished product” – Edward Steichen

Works Cited

Szarkowski, John. “Edward Steichen AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHER.” Encyclopedia Britannica. N.p., 25 Mar. 2005. Web. 21 Apr. 2017. Daniel, Malcolm. “Edward J. Steichen

(1879–1973): The Photo-Secession Years.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (November 2010) Professional Photographers of America. “Edward J. Steichen (1879–1973): The Photo-Secession Years.” International Photography Hall Of Fame And Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.



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