Editor’s Note: The magazine that arguably brought the art of photography into the fine art world was published by Past ASMP Member Alfred Stieglitz. From 1902 until 1917, Camera Work contained high-quality photogravures and text (including the first published essay by Gertrude Stein), helping transform photography into both an accessible medium to the public at large, and elevating it to the level of what was considered “art”. Issues of Camera Work are exceedingly rare, and very fragile. Photographer Mark Katzman spent 15 years compiling a complete set, and along with photographer Pierre Vreyen, produced a facsimile. The whole story – along with selected photos – are in the New York Times Lens Blog, by Rena Silverman.
Sometimes you just don’t want to botch the original. Cotton gloves protect from only so much and photographs fade every time they’re exposed to light. So, how do you leaf through the 50 hand-printed issues of Alfred Stieglitz’s Camera Work without distraction or fear of causing a disaster?
After all, there are fewer collectors than fingers on a hand that own a complete set of Camera Work, Stieglitz’s groundbreaking publication that helped shepherd photography into the art world. With brittle covers and fine photogravures, finding even one undamaged volume is a an unnerving challenge. But, Mark Katzman, a photographer based in St. Louis, figured it out. He spent the same amount of time Stieglitz did running the publication — 15 years — finding ways to collect an entire set.