The painterly effects of Three Pears and an Apple, a selection from Edward Steichen's The Early Years Portfolio, 1901–1927, are reflected in this memorable image's soft focus and elegant composition. Steichen achieved the soft outlines of the fruit with a 36-hour exposure under indirect illumination. During this time, the film's emulsion expanded and contracted in the changing temperatures, creating the subtle, dreamlike qualities of the image. Steichen's dedication to achieving an initially conceived image and his expressive use of shape and imagery are testament to why he is credited with the transformation of photography into an art form.

Edward Steichen is an immortal among photographers. His richest, most profound photographs were made between 1900 and 1927. It is from this period that Steichen selected his masterpieces and asked Aperture to publish his prints.


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