I love this photograph! First of all, any picture taken in this period fills me with a sense of awe, just thinking about all the practicalities of having to carry all the equipment and the process of developing. But what I really like about the picture is how it tells a story. My first impression was that these women were looking out at sea to wait for their men to come home, who maybe drowned or something dramatic like that, but when you look at the shape of the women and then read the title of the photo, it's nothing that dramatic at all. They are simply gossiping. The coastal town where this image was taken is still somewhat know for its tight, closed community and therefor relates very well to the Katwyk of today.
I've almost finished 'The Photograph', by Graham Clarke. The chapter 'The photograph as fine art' talks about how Stieglitz wanted his photographs to reflect 'The subject itself, in its own substance and personality'... 'Photography, he declared, 'has its own possibilities of expression, as it sought to record a feeling for life.'
I wondered if the picture had gotten an other title, I would have still recognized the gossipy aspect. I think I would, just because of the shape of the women. This picture really does fit in Stieglitz' ideas of photography and how the image speaks for itself. It certainly records a feeling for life.