Edward J. Steichen (American, born Luxembourg, 1879–1973)
Direct carbon print
10 3/4 x 13 7/8 in. (27.3 x 35.2 cm)
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1933 (33.43.49)
Years after making this photograph, Steichen recalled the circumstances of its creation: "I borrowed from a friend a German hand camera [and] made my first attempt at serious documentary reportage. I went to the Longchamps Races and found an extravagantly dressed society audience, obviously more interested in displaying and viewing the latest fashions than in following the horse races." The smaller camera enabled Steichen to work quickly enough to capture this candid view before it was obstructed by a man entering the picture frame at the left. Far from detracting from the photograph, his presence adds a sense of dynamism perfectly in tune with the fluttering excitement of the crowd.