The Hand of Man

Alfred Stieglitznegative 1902; print about 1933

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

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.


  • Title: The Hand of Man
  • Creator: Alfred Stieglitz
  • Date Created: negative 1902; print about 1933
  • Location Created: New York, New York, United States
  • Physical Dimensions: 8.3 × 11.3 cm (3 1/4 × 4 7/16 in.)
  • Type: Print
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Gelatin silver print
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 93.XM.25.7
  • Culture: American
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Creator Display Name: Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864 - 1946)
  • Classification: Photographs (Visual Works)

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