New York City is the center of photography. As early as the 1890s, pioneers of this new medium were inspired by the rapidly growing skyline and the vitality of this dynamic metropolis. They took photographs of skyscrapers, harbors and train stations and discovered photography as an independent art form. Alfred Stieglitz, the avant-garde photographer and art dealer, was the first to exhibit photographs alongside modern paintings. In his circle, Pictorialism developed into the two movements found in American photography by 1950: street photography and photographic abstraction.
Lewis Hine made use of photojournalism to document immigrants and child labor after 1900. Man Ray, who began his artistic career as a painter, preferred to use the medium of photography for his Dada imagery. Berenice Abbott and Weegee portrayed the lives of people in New York City – snapshots of a vibrant metropolis.
Edward Steichen: Gloria Swanson, 1924 The Museum of Modern Art, New York Courtesy Gloria Swanson Inc., © Photo SCALA, Florence, The Museum of Modern Art, New York