The Hand of Man
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Alfred Stieglitz
American, 1902
9 1/2 x 12 1/2 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 the 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. Stieglitz reproduced this photograph in the January 1903 issue of Camera Work , a journal that he both founded and edited. In the early 1930s he returned to the image and printed additional photographs.