Alfred StieglitzAmerican (Hoboken, New Jersey, 1864 - 1946, New York City, New York)
In 1917 Stieglitz began what he described as a composite portrait of his second wife, the painter Georgia O'Keeffe. Convinced that no single photograph could capture the true essence of a person's character or appearance, Stieglitz attempted to record O'Keeffe in all her physical and emotional dimensions. By the time Stieglitz stopped working twenty years later, the series included over three hundred pictures of her.
Some of the portraits focus tightly on specific body parts (O'Keeffe's hands, a symbol of her creative abilities, were of particular interest to Stieglitz). Others are more traditional head-and-shoulder portraits, both nude and clothed. In several O'Keeffe poses in front of her paintings in a severe black suit, her hair pulled tightly back, while elsewhere she appears in a diaphanous dressing gown with her tresses long and loose.
Overtly sexual in some instances, prim and buttoned up in others, O'Keeffe is portrayed as a woman of many selves. She rarely smiles, but she often engages the camera with steely self-assuredness.