The Rose 1905

Eva Watson-Schütze, The Rose, 1905; Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay

The Rose demonstrates Eva Watson-Schütze's talent for creating dramatic photographs with pictorial qualities.

Here she posed the young woman against a plain studio backdrop, emphasizing the irregular outline of her dress. Positioned in the center of the composition, the sitter faces the camera directly. Watson-Schütz heightened the feeling of flatness by emphasizing the outline of the model's body against the background.

Watson-Schütze chose an unusual format for this photograph: a narrow rectangle, which the figure nearly fills. Virtually every element in this composition emphasizes its verticality. For instance, the embroidered panels on the woman's dress narrow to a point as they descend toward the hem.

The woman holds a fully opened rose, the stem of which is so long it reaches from her throat to her knees. The stem forms a narrow dark line that echoes model's slender proportions and the center part of her hair. Watson-Schütze placed her monogram in the upper left corner, a device favored by many photographers of the time.