Ever since I was young, I have been attracted to the colorful paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe. I remember visiting the Dallas Museum of Art when I was in my 20s and being amazed to see her beautiful flower paintings and desert landscapes in person.
Recently I attended an exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute and saw photographs of Georgia O’Keeffe that were taken in 1918 by Alfred Stieglitz. The photos really moved me. After further research I learned that Stieglitz and O’Keeffe were married, which explains the intimate nature of the photographs.
Stieglitz and O’Keeffe were married in 1924. He was 23 years older than she. He photographed her extensively in the early part of their relationship when she was in her 30’s. The series of photos that feature her hands are the ones I find particularly interesting.
Apparently, the older O’Keeffe felt emotionally distant from the younger Georgia who was the focus of these photographs. Personally, I enjoy looking at photographs of my younger self, although I often cringe at the many hairstyles I have worn. Sure, I would prefer to have photos that were taken by a world-renown photographer, but luckily I have some photos that I honestly think make me look good.
I am not sure that I have a photograph that captures what I believe to be the real me. What would that photo look like? Would I be smiling or would I look serious? What would I wear? I often don't know how I should pose when a photo is being taken. Maybe that is why Georgia is never smiling in the pictures that Alfred took of her. Maybe she was trying to show the real her. Or maybe she was just tired of him taking so many damn pictures.