The Hand of Man

Alfred Stieglitz1902

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

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.

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  • Title: The Hand of Man
  • Creator: Alfred Stieglitz
  • Date: 1902
  • Physical Dimensions: 24.1 x 31.8 cm (9 1/2 x 12 1/2 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Photogravure
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Print
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 84.XM.695.22
  • Inscription: Inscription: Titled plus inscr. "lgw x" on recto mount.
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Photographs
  • Culture: American
  • Classification: Photographs