The Hand of Man
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© J. Paul Getty Trust

Alfred Stieglitz
American, negative: 1902, print: about 1933
Gelatin silver print
3 1/4 x 4 7/16 in.

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A locomotive engine steams toward the camera on its barely visible tracks, wearing a billowing black cloud of smoke like a plumed hat. The criss-crossing lines of tracks beside it snake off toward the horizon, and the telephone poles at left appear to be making the same march. Alfred Stieglitz's composition is a treatise on the importance of the machine in the modern Industrial Age. The title of the photograph, The Hand of Man, sets up a comparison between the machine that is depicted and the human artistic impulse that created the image.