Pictured below: photographer Alfred Stieglitz with his wife, the artist, Georgia O’Keeffe.
It’s a provocative image. I imagine a camera, on a tripod, set somewhere further down a grassy slope ready to spring into life and take an automatic exposure – staged – and yet the emotion that floods out of the image seems true.
Except for one thing. Her foot. It is not committed to the union. And then, when I think of that, I start to see the hats, the great dark, flowing coats and capes. I see much more artfulness in the image than the first impression. What can one expect, they were artists. Although their marriage endured in a form until his death, they spent a lot of time apart.
When Stieglitz died, O’Keeffe flew from her home in Albuquerque to his in New York. She spent the night before his funeral stripping out the pink satin that lined his coffin and replacing it with plain white linen.
The foot, the hats, the white linen. Perhaps it’s that milky coolness in the aesthetic that stops the passions burning up everything instantaneously their path – although they generally get there in the end.