Alice Austen’s groundbreaking portfolio “Street Types of New York” from 1894, marks her as one of the earliest female street photographers who captured the changing face of the city’s working class just before the turn of the century. Today a new generation of photographers continues her legacy of documenting the ever-changing city. This exhibition includes work by: Alice Austen, Chris Arnade, Alice Attie, Dmitry Gudkov, Peter Funch, Andy Jones, Wayne Lawrence, Erica McDonald, Greg Miller, Christina Paige, Susanna Ray, Richard Renaldi, Ruddy Roye, Geordie Wood, and AnRong Xu.
The New Street Types draws connections from early street portraiture like that of Alice Austen (1866-1952) to contemporary image-makers. The artists selected for the exhibition work in a similar style to Austen, often employing large format photography to create portraits of New York City’s diverse communities and subcultures – including the outer fringes of the expanding city like the Rockaways and Orchard Beach. Some of the artists conceptualize themes in portrait typologies and use social media to communicate online, while artists like Peter Funch take the traditional street portrait a step further, creating digital tableaus to capture life on the streets and see it anew. Photographer Ruddy Roye utilizes Instagram to create his images - sharing them in a spontaneous and wide-reaching way Austen could have never imagined.
In addition to the contemporary images, Alice Austen’s rare and fascinating “Street Types” portfolio, produced c.1896 by the Albertype Company, will be on display. The show examines Austen’s intentions behind the portfolio of portraits and leaves the viewer to ponder her reasoning for the project – a question that was left unanswered at the time of her death in 1952.