They have a strange and difficult allure, old photographs, don't they. A power. A poignancy. As a writer, you want to write - to tell the story - but at the same time you can feel you're being allowed to be part of something that is complete without language. Already perfect.
I stumbled across Alfred Stieglitz's work only recently, and I am smitten. I am also afraid to find out too much about him, in case he turns out to be a creep. A supremely talented creep with the eye of an angel. That sort of thing. Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise - It's not exactly a professional attitude, but in this case, let's just let the images speak for themselves. Three from the 1890s -
"The Terminal" (1893)
"Winter – Fifth Avenue" (1893)
"Venetian Canal" (1894)
And, as a postscript, one more Alfred Stieglitz photograph from the next century -