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Alfred Stieglitz, Hands, 1918

Hands are integral to the artist.

Alfred Stieglitz met Georgia O’Keeffe at the age of 52. His photography had propelled him to fame in the art world, and his work is still considered to be the best of the best. Georgia O’Keeffe was 28 years old at the time, teaching art at a quaint school in Texas.

Despite their 24 year age gap and their tremendously different positions, the couple fit together. Stieglitz took no time in divorcing his wife to move in together with O’Keeffe, who he loved to photograph. Naturally, their relationship developed significant strains, but the initial passion between the two was unmatchable. The portraits of O’Keeffe that Stieglitz had photographed were intimate and erotic. Yet, sometimes, they exhibited her beauty in ways unrelated to her sexual body.

I’m particularly fond of Stieglitz’s series of Hands. He photographs O’Keeffe’s hands in various positions. They are graceful, interlocked, and sometimes violent. In this photograph, however, O’Keeffe’s face also makes an appearance. Her slender fingers compliment her stern face. The solemn expression does not detract from her raw beauty. Stieglitz’s publishing of these photographs are a testament to the love he felt for her. Despite their ups and downs, the work created from their love is undeniably gorgeous.

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