Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly — 1914 (Heft 47)

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“291”—a positive electron ever ready to use its powerful dynamic
force for the destruction of the deadly microbe. Being positive, it cannot
be isolated—tho it stands alone. It is a strain centre in stable orbital mo-
tion round a common centre—recognizable and identified.
The electric waves produced are circulated by Heat, Friction and Ac-
tion, or, if you will, Passion, Thought, and Expression. The works shown
at “291” are comets which go on their way with all strength and never
make apologies, even if their tails should strike the earth. Shock absorbers
are not necessary, nor are they desired.
At this generating station there is high pressure, strongly felt by those
who are susceptive to messages of passionate spontaneity, by those true
selves and not borrowed selves, by those who are capable of feeling that
“291” breathes and lives and who enter into its consciousness, the centre
of which is unconscious, by those whose sight can pass into vision, by those
who can see the clearness of opacity and the clearness of the obscure, by
those who are elemental. These are the conductors of the electric waves.
And so the wheel turns on throwing off its electric sparks—the force
acting upon the atom and the soul acting upon force. The circle has
returned upon itself.
A natural force is this electron, synonymous with life, synonymous
with “291”.
Helen R. Gibbs

I have been invited to say what “291” means to me. It means to me
a personality—that mainly. On my infrequent visits to New York I am drawn
invariably to “291.” I go not to see the latest extravagance in pictorial
expression, but to hear, be inspired by a Man, and to breathe the whole-
some atmosphere of “291.” Association, however brief, with one who is the
soul of sincerity and disinterestedness, who exudes enthusiasm, is healthful.
So I feel. As I conceive it “291 ” is a quite natural development or evolution
of the Photo-Secession. The Photo-Secession was this Man as much as
“291” is this Man. The Photo-Secession had a purpose and mission which
have been accomplished. “291 ” is but attempting to add to that accomplish-
ment a supplementary one. I do not pretend to say that I understand, and
of course, therefore, cannot appreciate the aesthetic intention of the majority
of the originators of the paintings and drawings exhibited at “291” in recent
years. Many have indicated certainly, “a great struggling to express” which
to one sympathetically inclined has seemed at times distressingly painful
and pathetic. No doubt it is I who am unseeing that is deserving of pity.
But all this has no direct relation to my intense interest in and real regard
for “291,” its aims and ideals.
In a World, where even Art is prostituted to commercialism, it is good
to know of one spot where this taint is not.
H. Mortimer Lamb

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