Module 6: Elements of Art & Design

0 Posted by - June 12, 2014 - Courses, Photography Appreciation
Pablo Picasso, The Studio, 1927-192

Pablo Picasso, The Studio, 1927-192

What do you see in the painting above? A dining room? Studio? Table? Pictures? Vase? Chances are that within a second or two you saw a complete scene with some combination of these items. But when you examine Pablo Picasso’s The Studio you see that it consists of nothing but elemental lines, shapes and colors. These are part of the seven basic elements of art and design: form, line, shape, color, texture, space, and value.

As The Studio illustrates, these elements have a particular power in human visual perception. They are the vocabulary of visual composition. Through their arrangement or composition, the visual artist creates an image that communicates an intended subject.

The viewer perceives the elements as a unified whole with meaning through the concept of Gestalt perception. Gestalt means simply that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In other words, when we see the elements of a scene we interpret more than is literally there. This can be the elements themselves or the greater meaning in the image. You experienced Gestalt perception when you interpreted The Studio as a scene rather than just individual elements.

The process of using elements of art and design to create a photograph is exemplified by Alfred Stieglitz’s The Steerage at top. In 1907, Stieglitz was a passenger on a ship and he saw a scene he wanted to photograph. His description of his thinking tells us everything about using elements of art to produce a master photograph.

A round straw hat, the funnel leaning left, the stairway leaning right, the white draw-bridge with its railings made of circular chains—white suspenders crossing on the back of a man in the steerage below, round shapes of iron machinery, a mast cutting into the sky, making a triangular shape … I saw a picture of shapes and underlying that the feeling I had about life.

Question: In the quote above, Stieglitz is saying that through the elements of design he saw a meaning or subject. What do you think is the subject of The Steerage as produced by the arrangement of elements? Please respond in the comments below.

Module Content

With these concepts in mind, please read and view the following module content. This material outlines the key concepts and terms, and provides additional perspectives for understanding and working with the elements of art and design in photography.

“Elements of Graphic Design”

“Elements of Art/Design and Principles of Design/Organization” Note: Be sure to click on “See more” in each section and read the content and review examples. This tutorial has two parts. The first part on the elements of art and design is the subject of this module. The second part on principles of design is the focus of Module 7. Foundations of Color

Featured Photographer: Abelardo Morell

Abelardo Morell, Dictionary, 1994

Abelardo Morell, Dictionary, 1994

The Cuban-born contemporary American photographer Abelardo Morell is renown for his work exploring the language of photography. Read links about the photographer and his work here. As you view Morell’s images, identify how they use the different aspects of photography introduced in this course.


Read and view the Featured Photographer links and research Abelardo Morell’s photographs. Then find and add your favorite photograph by the photographer to the featured photographer collection. Write a photographic analysis that explains why your selection is an effective photograph. In particular, explain how the photographer used elements of art and design to create an effective photograph. Use terms and concepts from the course in your analysis. Full Directions

Discussion Topic

As we study the elements of design in this module, we begin to understand in depth how subject matter is transformed to create a new meaning, feeling or idea in a photograph. This raises questions about the depictive “truth” of a photograph. Is it an objective recording or an artistic expression that uses photographic subject matter for a subjective intent? In the short video included with the materials on featured photographer Abelardo Morell, he says that it is important that his images represent the known world. But the photographs raise the question of whether we ever know the subject matter being depicted. How do you think his photographs question what we know of something? Full Directions

Creative Practice

The power of the elements of design is that they are the visual elements that attract our eye and engage our perception. Go out and look at the world in terms of the elements of design. Think about how these things attract your eye and can be framed in way that creates a unique visual expression. Then create a photograph that uses at least two (2) elements of design in an effective way. Submit the photograph to the student photography collection and explain the intent of your photograph and how you used elements of design to communicate the subject of your image using terms from the class materials and discussion. Full Directions

Top Image: Alfred Stieglitz, The Steerage, 1907
  • Ashlin Hake

    I think that the subject of “The Steerage” produced by the arrangement of elements is showing the separation on the ship. The people on the lower level appear to be lower class and looking at them sort of gives you a felling of sadness, whereas the people on the upper level don’t give you that same feeling. The different elements of this photo work together to give you that sense of how the people on the ship are feeling and it shows the separation of class. The different elements produce a feeling for the viewer, for me it was sadness.

  • Jon-Michael Brandt

    I think the message conveyed by the photo is that we are forced to stick with our decisions. The Railings and chains allow for no one to get off the boat. Also no one seems to thrilled to be on the boat. And like all decisions we can not turn back once we have made them, much like a ship leaving port and heading out into the middle of the ocean.

  • Danielle Evert

    I believe the subject of “The Steerage” comes from the expression given by the faces of what I see as being immigrants ready to embark on a more joyous journey. I see the expression of weariness on many faces aboard the ship. I believe the overall meaning of this photo is hope for a better life. The color of the photo along with the hard lines throughout the photo gives the impression of hardships and sadness, but perhaps they are boarding this ship to find a place that they have been hoping for.

  • MacKenzie Kush

    I think the meaning of the The Steerage is how hectic a ship could be back in the day. The elements describing the photograph just add the little details about the ship, its architecture, the people on it.

  • Joe Rys

    I think that the the subject of ‘The Steerage’ are the faces of the people on the boat. The faces are hard to make out because they aren’t quite clear enough, but I feel like they are ones of curiosity. I think that the the people are immigrants and they have just come to some place new and they are absorbing all of the new things. I think that the rope that is the railing for the bridge is a good line to lead the eye through the image, from the left to the right. The photographer knows how to use lines really well in this image.

  • Kinsey Mace

    In Alfred Stieglitz’s photo The Steerage, I believe the subject to be a deeper meaning than the passengers on the boat. He saw a line between the upper deck and lower deck, and that could represent the gap between upperclass and lower class people that are pictured in the photo. The people on the upper deck seem to be more poised and wearing nicer clothing, while the people on the lower deck seem to be struggling. Stieglitz saw the line between these two groups of people, and how that’s a larger part of life.

  • Nicole Freid

    I think the meaning of the photo is to show the separation of the people in that time. At the time upper and lower class were separated which could be what Alfred Stieglitz is trying to show. I also agree with Joe that the use of lines in the bridge leads you through the photo from left to right and that is a good use of lines

  • Heather Torkelson

    In “The Steerage”, I believe the intended subject(s) were the people of the ship. A lot of attention is drawn to the division made by the bridge [use of line], bringing yours eyes from the left of the photo across to the boat. From there, you glance up and down, noticing the differences in the passengers. The “round shapes of iron machinery” appear on the bottom deck, with what I infer is the working class. The deck above looks like it hold much happier patrons. The meaning in the photo, I’d say, is the divide in classes “underlying the feeling” Stieglitz has on life.

  • Georgia

    In Stieglitz’s photo The Steerage, I believe the subject was intended to be the people on the ship. I do not think they were all of the people tho, I think the main emphasis is put on the people in the middle of the ship.

  • Lincoln Kirchoff

    I think the subject of the picture was the distinct separation made by the line of the bridge. Stieglitz says, “I saw a picture of shapes and underlying that the feeling I had about life”. I think he might be referring to that division. We see that the passengers above the divide have a different emotion than those below. The shapes made my mechanics and machines are on the bottom deck, making one assume that those passengers take on the workload, while those above get to enjoy themselves. That seems to be what life outside of a photograph is like, too, with lots of people doing hard labor so others can indulge.

  • Ryan Emanuelson

    I think the intended subject is the people on the ship. I think they are going to a new place maybe in search of starting a new life. Maybe the reason he thought the photo was what life was about is because these people are trying to start something new. They want to work their way into freedom and prosperity. They want to experience the American dream that was so heavily idealized back in those days. The faces on the people look like they are tired and have been through a lot. They look desperate to get out of where they were from and get to some place else to start a new life.

  • Bailey

    I believe the subject of picture is the idea of saying
    goodbye to something. There seem to be a lot of people on a boat and boats do
    not travel super-fast so we are left to only assume that the people on the boat
    will be leaving people behind and that this will be the last the glimpse of
    them that the people they are leaving behind will see for quite a while.

  • Jessica Dorman

    I think the subject of
    the steerage is the bridge and how it is separating the upper deck from the
    lower deck. Everyone on top looks to be wearing nice clothes, having a good
    time, relaxing before the ship sets off whereas the people on the bottom do not
    look as though they have that luxury. They seem to be tired with less put
    together clothes, weighed down with luggage and having to stand for a long
    time. Maybe that is what Stieglitz meant by “I saw a picture of shapes and underlying that the feeling I had
    about life” as there will always be people who
    take the long hard road and have to stand on the lower deck. There will also be
    people who have it easy and get to stand on the upper deck.

  • Victoria Langhans

    I think the subject of the picture is the idea of separation between two or more things. I think the separation lies between the boat and the docks, and furthermore separating the people. The people in the photograph do not look happy. It appears as though there are several “goodbyes” being said.

  • Megan Robson

    I think that the subject of Stieglitz photo, The Steerage, is the obvious separation of people made by the line of the bridge. When Stieglitz says, “I saw a picture of shapes and underlying that the feeling I had about life”, I think that he is referring to the division in classes. If you look at the people above the bridge they are dressed in fancy suits and dresses, enjoying themselves. But, as you look below the bridge you see the heavy machinery and people dressed in worn down clothes. They look as though they are very exhausted and worn out. This picture expresses perfectly how the more money you have, the more luxury things your will have in life.

  • Isaac Keller

    I believe that the subject matter of the photograph titled “The Steerage” by Alfred Stieglitz is that of the rich and poor classes. In the picture you can clearly tell that the people of the top deck appear to be wealthy as they are wearing nice clothes compared to the people on the bottom deck who appear to have worn clothes. Stieglitz uses line in this picture by splitting the two classes up between the bridge. By using the bridge Stieglitz successfully separates the upper class people from the middle class people.

  • Jessica Holmberg

    I think that the subject of Stieglitz’s photo “The Steerage,” is the divide in classes. The bridge draws a clear line between the rich people and the poor people on the boat. The people on the top deck are dressed in nice clothing while the people in the bottom are dressed in tattered and worn clothing. Also many ships in the early 1900’s worked this way. The upper class stayed at the top, nicer part of the ship, while the lower class was kept at the bottom. The wealthier looking people are literally looking down at the poor people. This shows the attitudes and actions of the wealthy. Stieglitz clearly framed the bridge so it would appear to divide the two groups.

  • Katie Elberson

    The subject of Stieglitz’s photo is the segregation of the early 1900s. You can see the clear distinction between the two social classes by the way the living conditions appear to be and the way the people are dressed. Stieglitz was able to use the structure of what I’m assuming is a boat, to show the separation between the rich and the poor.

  • Jason Straub

    This picture shows a great difference in wealth segregation. It’s obvious that the wealthy people are up and the poor people are lower, in the “steerage.” The picture is ironic, because the wealthy people are looking down on the poor people, literally, while they also look down on them as people.

  • Nicole Remer

    i think that the subject in Stieglitz’s photo “The Steerage”, is class segregation in the early 1900’s. By capturing the bridge in the middle of the frame, it helps create this separation between the first class and the poor down below. No one is posing in this photo, everyone is doing their own activities after boarding the boat but you can see the segregation so well the way Stieglitz captured it. Just by placing the symbolic loading bridge in-between the different classes says it all.

  • Samantha Scholler

    I would have to say that Stieglitz’s picture “The Steerage” is demonstrating some sort of segregation. It looks like there are people with really nice, fancy clothes on that are on the upper deck, and on the bottom there seems to be people with not-so-nice clothes, and seem to be dirty. Also, it looks like these people seem to be going somewhere, maybe to a new country to start a new life, you never know. I just think that what really separates them is the fact that there is one bridge leading to the upper deck, showing the definite segregation going on.

  • Wycliff Onyango

    Steerage photograph by Stieglitz show commencement of a new journey to a new
    land that you are not familiar with. The looks of the passengers shows how they
    are worried but there is also a feel of new opportunity. This photograph was
    taken during the immigration of peasant works from Europe migrating to North America.
    The voyage through the ocean had its disadvantages since there was possibility
    of ship wreck and other accidents. The facial expression can symbolize certainty
    of the future.

  • Jessica McCoy

    The photograph, “The Steerage,” by Stieglitz shows the division of individuals among different social classes. The ship has an upper deck where the individuals appear to be dressed in a variety of suits showing their wealth. The upper deck also contains almost all men with only a few women present on the deck. The lower deck is filled with individuals who are dressed in in older looking clothing. There is almost more women than men on the lower deck and those women all have their heads covered with some type of headdress. Through this information I believe that the subject is the segregation between different social classes along with men and women during this time period. It also shows the different ways that individuals were treated during transportation at this time. The men and upper class are located on the upper deck while the lower deck contains more women and individuals who appear to be in a lower class.

  • Isaac Wenzel

    What I notice especially in the photograph “The Steerage” by Stieglitz is that there is a separation between the upper class and the lower class. The upper class can be seen above, while the lower can seen below. I think the photographer was trying to capture that level of segregation that’s going on between the two.

  • Leah Youngblood

    While looking at “The Steerage” by Stielitz i find the subject to be the people. As we look at the people we can see that the people on the top of the frame are of upper class and have clothes that show it. The people in the lower part of the frame seem to be from the lower class, as they are wearing clothes that are not representative of wealth. The stairs and bridge help make this segregation more noticeable.

  • Jonathan Moore

    The image :The Steerage” by Alfred Stieglitz seems to be illustrating the social and class divide during that time period. The more wealthy and upper class citizens above and “lording” over the poorer ones. This was such a great opportunity to take this photograph as the gang plank to the upper level acts as a physical dive in the image separating the two peoples.

  • Andrea Olson

    The photograph “The Steerage” by Alfred Stieglitz shows the visible difference in socioeconomic status. This status difference is as clear as the bridge and stairs that physically separate the white from the blue collar individuals. Those on the upper deck are dressed with fancy hats, suits, and dresses and next to the sail and smokestack, while those on the lower deck are surrounded by gears and machinery, wear worn clothing, suspenders on bare backs, and bonnets while hanging their clothes on makeshift clotheslines to dry.

  • Samantha Stetzer

    “The Steerage” by Alfred Stieglitz displays a common fact of humanity and that is the separation of wealth and fulfilling lives. The lower deck of the boat is showing people of lower status literally right below those of higher status and “quality.” The quote above talks about all the shapes in the picture and how they display the difference in livelihoods in America. They may be the same shapes, such the round hats and the roundness of the hoods, but they depict different emotions. The round hats on the upper deck show their wealth, while the hoods are almost an attempt to hide from their financial burden.

  • Karisa Hanson

    The photograph “The Sterrage” taken by Alfred Stieglitz shows a clear distinction between the statuses among people. The bridge actually separates the wealthier individuals from the not so wealthy. You can tell by what they are wearing. The ones above are dressed nicely with hats and luggage bags. While the individuals on the bottom are not dressed as well and they have clothing hanging everywhere. You cannot only see by their clothes but
    also by the expression on their faces. The people under the bridge look sad and
    disheveled. While the people on top look content. After looking at this you can
    see the clear subject of the image is the difference and separation among economical
    and social status.

  • Kayla Severson

    Alfred Stieglitz’s photograph “The Steerage” is showing the economic divide between social classes at that time. The separation is easy to see as the people on the upper deck are wearing nice clothes, including suits, dresses, overcoats and hats. The people on the lower deck are wearing tattered clothing and some are covering up with what looks like whatever other pieces of fabric they found to stay warm. The people and their struggles or being fortunate is the subject of this photograph.

  • Stuart Schindler

    In Alfred Stieglitz’s photo “The Steerage” there is a unique depiction of the separation of social class. This is simply an image of two decks of a ship with people disembarking from their journey but this image captures much more than that. Social class is often referred to as a vertical separation of demography as seen in the term upper-class. This photo transforms the subject matter of these people on the ship into a subject depiction the ‘vertical’ separation of social classes. The people on the upper deck have much nicer clothes, the men wearing nice hats and suits. Whereas the passengers on lower deck are quite clearly lower class wearing cheaper, more worn, clothing and are restricted to the lower regions of the ship.

  • Nicole Haedtke

    Stieglitz’s photo “The Steerage” clearly depicts the separation between the rich and the poor social class. The floor of the upper deck literally splits the two groups. The poor occupy the bottom deck, we know that because of the way they are dressed. Old cloth covers their bodies and heads, some are hanging out a few items to dry. They have minimal luggage and the one is in the photo is a small cloth bag. On the other hand, above the poor, is the nicely dressed rich. The men have nice hats and the women wear finer clothing.

  • kacey brausen

    In Alfred Stieglitz’s photo “The Steerage” the subject is the separation between social classes. The upper portion of the deck is the rich, and the lower deck is the poor. The viewers know this because of the way the people are dressed. The men on the upper deck are in very nice suits and hats, whereas the people on the lower deck are wearing old looking clothing, and look cheaper.

  • Kylie Bridwell

    According to the arrangement of the elements in the photo it
    is obvious that Stieglitz was trying to portray the division between classes as
    he took the photo showing those with nicer clothes and property on the upper
    deck above the line that the bridge creates than those that are on the bottom
    deck below the bridge line. Other than
    the distinct line between the two classes Stieglitz also uses space showing the
    top deck having very little space between people and the bottom deck being more
    spacious which exemplifies the fact that the wealthier can afford to go on
    these trips; therefore, there will be more upper class passengers than the
    lower class passengers. Lastly, he shows
    shape and form to show the class difference again in the position of the people
    as the upper deck is standing straight, happy, and energetic while the lower
    deck is sitting, slouched, and not showing as much happiness and energy.

  • Hannah Herrera

    The Steerage by Alfred Stieglitz depicts not just the literal separation between the passengers but, also, their economical and social separation. The stairway, drawbridge, mast, funnel, and decks all create visual and social/economic separation between the two groups of passengers.

  • Kayla Piltz

    I believe in Stieglitz’s photo “The Steerage” the subject of the photograph is the constant idea of class conflict. On the upper deck the people are dressed much more lavishly and are dressed in more than just the necessary clothing to live. They have hats, multiple jackets, accessories, and tailored clothing. The facial expressions on these people also seem happier. They are also looking at the camera, unlike the people below. The people on the bottom deck are dressed in the bare minimum. They are also not looking at the camera as there is a chance that these people don’t feel worthy of having their pictures taken. There is also the white bridge. White is a symbol of happiness and purity which the people on top may believe they are more pure than the people below. The bridge also gives the sense of the people on top walking on over the people on the bottom to show how much better they are since they literally walk over them.

  • Alex Plank

    In the photograph “The Steerage”, Alfred Stieglitz shows a clear line between social classes. There is a physical separation between the two groups of people. The “upper-class” group is literally above those who may be considered “low-class,” which is actually quite ironic. This photograph not only shows the appearances of the different groups, but also the physical separation, and the segregation that comes along with that.

  • Kylynn Wolfe

    Alfred Stieglitz’s photograph “The Steerage” seems to be composed of two groups of people, separated by a bridge and by separate decks at a first glance. If you look closer at the individual people within each group, you can determine what characteristics they seem to have in common. The people on the upper deck have more expensive clothing, telling us they must be the “upper class” compared to the bottom deck. The structures within the photograph literally and physically segregate the groups of people, telling the audience that the social/economical segregation of the people is the subject.

  • Samantha Schierman

    Throught out Stiegiltz’s photograph “The Steerage” you can see that he uses Gesalt’s perception to provide the viewers meaning in the photo. Stiegiltz uses the levels between the decks to demonstrate the social class seperations. In society, there are different classes based on a person’s economical standings which is then evident with what one looks like based on the clothing they can afford. This in addition to what ticket one might have afforded to purchase is evident because this seperates the two classes. This photo uses frame to show the two different classes based on their outside apperances and where they are placed on the decks.

  • Breanna Huening

    In the Stieglitz’s photograph of “The Steerage” the photographer uses many symbols to show meaning the photo. In the photo I see a separation between the 2 different groups of individuals. The bridge is the point in the photo that causes this separation. Above the bridge are the wealthy and higher class individuals, and below the bridge are the individuals who are of lower classes. The use of the Gesalt’s perception really provides this information to the viewers of the photograph.

  • Pang Carter

    In Stieglit’z Photograph “The Steerage” I think the subject is to show the different levels of people. It looks like a photo from the Titanic and how they had different classes of people on the ship. It makes me feel sad because this is the way of society and to separate people from one another based on the haves and have nots.

  • Bader Albalawi

    Arranging the element, people, into two categories gave the impression that there were two classes of people; the upper class and the lower class. The people in the upper part of the ship were looking down at the people in the lower part. People in the lower part of the photo looked like they were a poor class because they had their laundry out and were less dressed up than the upper people.

  • Sarah

    “The Steerage” by Alfred Stieglitz’s is a clear depiction of the separation between the high socioeconomic class and the low socioeconomic class. The Gestalt Perception allows to not only see the picture as a whole for what its worth, but allows to look at the smaller parts that show the separation such as the bridge.

  • Ashley

    First glance, I see that the photo is cut in half. Then I see it is a walkway, with the ropes hanging low and back up again, followed by a group gathered on top and then I fall down to a group of people below the walkway. Similar groups, to be specific, it could be a class difference, or even men and woman. It’s funny how my eyes move like a wave. Which applies to the Gestalt Principle of continuation, my vision is moved back and forth until I decide to end my stare. Personally, I think simple and same, the up and down, waves like people back and forth through life is vision Alfred Stieglitz’s successfully accomplished with “The Steerage, 1907”.

  • Clayton Fox

    In “The Steerage” by Alfred Stieglitz’s I believe he is trying to portray humanity in its simplist form. Everyone is trying to survive and man is notorious for being divided into classes. The people on the top of the ship look a bit wealthier opposed to the people down below. The bridge and stairs have more meaning when you analyze the entire photograph. The bridge acts as a separation between the two classes. The ladder in my opinion is symbolic of how people can move up and down the hierarchy.

  • ejemen aimienwauu

    Stieglitz is saying through the elements of design he saw a
    meaning. The scene shows a variety of men and women traveling in the lower
    class section of a steamer. I think the subject of “the steerage” is simply
    separation as the people on the upper section are looking at the people on the
    lower section. This shows the difference in the status of people as most of the
    people I the upper desk are standing up with nicer clothes while the people in
    the lower section have clothes hung around, and are sitting down with sad looks
    on their faces

  • Mari Dwyer

    In “The Steerage” written by Alfred Stieglitz, there are many different elements in the short reading that make all different meanings. It’s something that makes me think of separation and ways that things are different. When looking closer at the photograph, I can clearly see the separation on the ship of the two classes.The wealthy looking down on the more poverty stricken class with a look of discomfort or disgust. The different elements of the classes, the levels of the deck of the ship creating organized chaos into a photo that describes the distinct differences of two social classes. The white drawbridge could be seen as a symbol of hope for those wanting to pass between the two classes.

  • In “The Steerage” shot by Alfred Stieglitz he captures a lot of underlying meanings. At my first glance I noticed the bridge going across the picture, and then my eyes moved under the bridge to what looks like lower class citizens, and above the wealthier class so the bridge creates a separation of classes. On the lower deck of the ship there is a ladder which to me meant that people can move up or down the ladder of wealth.

  • Hannah McGlone

    In “The Steerage” taken by Alfred Stieglitz you can see many of the 7 basic elements. By doing this he creates a class distinction. The people on the top seem to be dressed in better clothes and seem to have less troubles whereas the lower deck looks miserable.

  • Rachel Boehmke

    In Alfred Stieglitz’s photo, “The Streerage”, the seven basic elements work together to create meaning in the image. In this photo I believe the subject or meaning was about societies class division, which in the photo is very obvious, both with the physical divide of and upper and lower deck, and with the difference in clothing and accommodation. It showcases the struggle of those in the lower class as they strive to climb the social ladder.

  • sydney croft

    In the photograph “The Steerage” photographed by Alfred Stieglitz, the seven basic elements are what create the meaning of the image. In my opinion I think that the subject/ meaning of the photograph is about class division. There is an actual divide of the upper and lower parts of the ship. As well as a difference in people between the upper and lower parts. In the upper part of the ship are cleaner, well dresses people who are assumed to be the wealthier people and below the people are dirtier and less kept than the people who are on the upper part of the ship. Also the people who are on the top deck, are looking down at the people on the bottom deck. This photograph shows the divide of social classes and the difference in the two.

  • Noah Loos

    “The Steerage,” photographed by Alfred Stieglitz, uses most of the elements of design to get the subject/meaning of his photo across to the viewer. By using mainly the elements of form, line, shape, and space, he created a photo that successfully depicts the divide between upper and lower class citizens. Lines and space provide a “separation” between the upper class citizens on the ship and the lower class citizens below the bridge. This can help the viewer more easily recognize the subject of this photo.

  • Ben Barner

    The subject of Alfed Stieglitz’s “The Steerage” is the division of the passengers on the ship by social class. The elements of art and design are used to convey to the viewer the separation of the two groups of people. There is a line (the upper and lower decks) dividing each group of people. The folks on the upper deck seem to be better dressed and wealthier than their counterparts on the lower deck. The subject of “The Steerage” is implied when you look at the image as a whole. If you were to look at only the group of people on the lower deck or only the people on the upper deck you wouldn’t see the true meaning Stieglitz was trying to convey.

  • Jade Spaulding

    In Alfred Stieglitz’s The Steerage I believe the subject is class. On the balcony of the ship are the upper class passengers and below them are the lower class passengers. It looks as if the upper class passengers are actually and metaphorically looking down on the lower class passengers.

  • Taylor Nyman

    I feel that the subject for the image “The Steerage” is the treatment of social class among the public. The bridge is an eye attraction to clearly notice the division line the photographer used to establish that as a mark of statement, without words.

  • Doug Simons

    In “The Steerage” I believe that the subject is class. Above are the wealthy and below are the poor. This is noticed through placement and what the people are wearing.

  • Eric Frazier

    The subject of Alfred Stieglitz’s The Steerage 1907,
    is about the ‘Haves’ and the ‘Have Nots’. The lower class below and the upper
    class above with their own bridge creating a line between the two classes of

  • Marissa Williams

    I believe the subject of “The Steerage” is class. The bridge is the “line” between the upper class above and the lower class below. The two classes can be shown by what the people are wearing.

  • Cassandra Koscianski

    When I first look at “The Steerage”, I see a separation of class. Much like the titanic, the wealthy got to be on first and the lower the class the longer they had to wait for their turn. The clothes that each group are wearing is a good indicator on their social class.

  • Evan Tangen

    In “The Steerage” I see what i interpret to be an examination of working class immigrants coming to America during the gilded age. The steerage people are positioned below the more finely-dressed immigrants standing on the deck. Ovivosuly this is social commentary on clas and natural advantage present in society. everything from the point of view to the position of the subjects speaks volumes about these themes.