This picture may be read as a symbol—of Eve’s temptation in the Garden of Eden, perhaps, or of harmony between nature and humankind—yet it presents itself as an immediate, sensual experience. You can almost feel yourself reaching up to the apples covered with dew and ripe for the picking.
Stieglitz was fifty-eight years old when he made this photograph at his family’s estate in Lake George, New York, where he spent his summers from childhood to old age. At the turn of the twentieth century, it had seemed to him that photography, if it were to become an art, must emulate the other arts and so restrain or disguise its earthbound realism. Later, in the 1920s, he helped to prove in his own photographs that engaging the stubborn specificity of his medium was itself a fine art.
Publication excerpt from From MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2019)