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Century-Old Manhattan Street Photography Goes on Display in New Exhibit

By Nicholas Rizzi | April 11, 2013 8:23am

ROSEBANK — A new exhibit at the Alice Austen House Museum will feature street portraits of the city's changing working class at the turn of the 20th century.

“Street Types: Turn of the Century Portraiture by Alice Austen” will open Sunday and feature 28 photos taken on the streets of Manhattan during the 1890s, said Janice Monger, director of the Alice Austen House Museum.

“Not everybody at that time would pay attention to these folks as subjects, but Alice Austen did,” Monger said.

The gallery will feature photos by Austen that have never been displayed before. The exhibit will also show 12 photos from her “Street Types” portfolio, published in 1896 by the Albertype Company, along with an original copy that was a gift from Austen’s aunt and uncle.

“It’s kind of interesting to think about why she chose the photos she did to publish and why not others,” Monger said. “It’s interesting to look at both those that were included in the portfolio and ones that weren’t.”

Austen, who died in 1952, was one of the first female street photographers. She biked from her Staten Island home to Manhattan carrying nearly 50 pounds of equipment to capture her subjects, Monger said.

The museum will host an opening reception for the exhibit on April 14, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The exhibit will run from April 14 to June 23. For more information, visit the Alice Austen House’s website.