Re: Pond-moonrise (was: Re: Steichen image in April's 'Vanity Fair'
Oh, I'm sorry Judy, somehow I had got the idea that within the last year or so, you had changed over to a system that allowed you easier access to the web. I hope you'll get to see the illustrations, because I think it's an interesting question, but because Steichen printed the same image so many different ways, it's difficult to discuss any of his work without being sure we have the same print, or at least a reproduction of the same print, in front of us.
As for knowing more about the suite than the arbiters I cite, I wonder if maybe you've got me mixed up with someone else. The only "arbiters" I've cited in this thread are the conservation department at the Metropolitan Museum, who have subjected the two prints of this image that have been in their possession to intense scrutiny and scientific analysis, and I am certainly willing to take their word for what they've concluded about the composition of those prints, as well as the many other Steichen prints they have in their collections. I do agree with you that there's a lot of nonsense written about gum printing, and about Steichen's prints, and I also agree that I probably know more about this series than some of the arbiters who have been cited in this thread by others. I'm not inclined to believe what I'm told it says in ArtNews or in some college photo publication, or even in an auction catalog, about Steichen's prints, over what the Metropolitan Museum conservators say about their holdings.
There's no "indication of Steichen's workflow" that I would give more credence to than the discussions in the Met's catalog for Stieglitz's collection, which show by comparisons of electron microscope pictures and other kinds of analysis, that in many cases, Steichen's description of how a print was made turns out to be very different from how the print was actually made. So I'd be inclined to take with a grain of salt any description of a "workflow" that came from the man himself; besides, he kept changing his methods and doing different things all the time, so the idea that he had a "workflow" that he replicated from print to print isn't consistent with how he worked during the time he was doing these prints. Also, in my research of the last day, hunting jpegs of these prints, I've come across fairly persuasive indications that there were more of these prints at one time, for example the moonrise print reproduced in Camera Work in 1906 is apparently not any of the three that are in existence today, and may possibly be the one Steichen described the layers of, in the event that his description did accurately describe any actual print. At any rate, just the very different treatment of these three (or possibly four) prints of the same subject should lay to rest any idea that Steichen had anything resembling what we know as a "workflow" these days. (So much for the value of identical "editions.")
Okay, I hope we can continue this discussion after you've looked at the jpegs. The more I think about the Flatiron, I think you may be right, although as I've said, I can't be sure that the print I pointed to is the print you saw before.
I haven't had time to view Katharine's illustrations yet, tho I thank her in advance. (I'm an old-fashioned girl -- that is, I have to change systems to see web.)