City Secrets

Alice Austen: An Influential NY Photographer Born In 1866

September 6, 2017 | BTSNYC
Curiosities City Secrets Alice Austen Photography Staten Island Austen House Clear Comfort by Floto Warner

We are pretty fond of strong women that have changed or influenced certain periods in time. Alice Austen was one of America’s earliest and most prolific female photographers. She as an influential NY photographer born in 1866.

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Photography is one of our biggest passions and we are proud to say that New York is the home of the most groundbreaking and influential photographers on the planet.

Alice Austen was born in 1866 in Staten Island and her life was certainly an exciting journey, specially considering the time in history she was born.

She is well-known for her documentary work, but she was also passionate about landscape designing. Austen was a pioneer in many things, from being a women photographer, to being the first women to purchase a car. And still, to have a ‘forbidden’ relationship with Gertrude Tate. Wow, we just love her! Powerful, independent, strong, willful, devoted, driven!

Her quest into the photography universe started at the age of 10, when her uncle, Oswald Müller, brought home a camera from one of his trips. He was a sea captain. She was completely enchanted and hypnotized by that wooden box and, in no time, she got pretty familiar with it.

So, by 18 she was already a professional photographer. Some of the earliest works found date back to this time.

Her photographs demonstrate her interest in America’s social challenges as well as her aesthetic sensibility.

Clear Comfort, as the Austen House is known, dates back to a 1690’s one-room Dutch farmhouse.

It is one of the oldest homes in New York and it is considered a National Historic Landmark. The house has an amazing panoramic view of New York City. Today, they offer around 3 exhibitions every years with historic images and also more contemporary ones.

The Staten Island Historical Society, at Historic Richmond, owns over 7,000 original items by Alice Austen. From glass plate negatives, film base negatives to countless original prints. Note: Her career compiled actually over 8,000 images.

If you are interested to head that way and explore more the life of his extraordinary woman, contact our experts to set up this experience for you! We are also able to arrange this for Corporate groups.

Also, take a look to see what are the current exhibitions.

Location: 2 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Alice Austen Org and Floto-Warner
*Last Update on March/2020.*

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