When Photography & Art Meet Literature: Instant Spark

Listen to: Finding It There By Goldmund

He was a photographer.

She was an artist.

They were in love. 

They wrote letters to each other for over 30 years. They wrote to each other about anything, everything. 

Where can one find a love like that these days? 

Photograph of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz kissing at Lake George, 1929

He drove her crazy:

Dearest — my body is simply crazy with wanting you — If you don’t come tomorrow — I don’t see how I can wait for you — I wonder if your body wants mine the way mine wants yours — the kisses — the hotness — the wetness — all melting together — the being held so tight that it hurts — the strangle and the struggle. (source)

She was his muse:

How I wanted to photograph you — the hands — the mouth — & eyes — & the enveloped in black body — the touch of white — & the throat — (source)

This photograph, one of more than 300 images Stieglitz made of O’Keeffe (1887–1986) between 1917 and 1937, is part of an extraordinary composite portrait. Stieglitz believed that portraiture concerned more than merely the face and that it should be a record of a person’s entire experience, a mosaic of expressive movements, emotions, and gestures that would function collectively to evoke a life.

 He wanted to gift her eternity: 

Letters from Stieglitz to O’Keeffe, November 8-10, 1916

She loved him, wholeheartedly: 

I love you, Dearest One, if I am capable of love. I often wonder, am I?—But if I am, it’s you there with me in the great white stillness—where there is a great peace & no ugliness.—No voices with edges that tear—

 

I often wondered if I’ll ever live a love story as great as this, or that of Hemingway. Even if it wouldn’t last, I would not mind. 

Note: I do not own any of the letters or pictures published in this post. They are all cited from the source I got them from. 

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