Alfred Stieglitz was always interested
in photography as an art form. He was also interested in the technical
boundaries of photography. This picture is one of his early experiments
in stopping motion, in this case the motion of a horse-drawn carriage
and the wind-whipped snow. Stieglitz stood for three hours in a driving
blizzard to get this picture, waiting for something picturesque to come
moving through the storm.
The snow was a critical aspect, for this picture was also a Stieglitz
experiment in atmosphere. Rather than use a special soft-focus lens (called
a Lens of Atmosphere in advertisements), Stieglitz wanted
to take straight, hand-held detective camera photos of real,
observed moments. He needed naturally-occuring atmosphere to create a
mood, situating his pictures squarely in the realm of the art world. Weather
provided the atmosphere, the fuzzy, soft-focus effects that could double
as brushstrokes. Weather could be means to his artistic ends and Stieglitz
would turn to it again and again.