Images that capture slices of life in New York today and yesteryear is the focus of “The new street types of New York” which is in its last weekend of exhibition at the Alice Austen House on Staten Island.
On display from yesteryear is Alice Austen 1896 portfolio “Street Types” commissioned by the Albertype Company. Alice Austen was one of the first notable female photographers in America. The focus of Austen’s portfolio was capturing persons who made their livings on the streets of the city. Among the images are: “Organ grinder with wife” and “Emigrant & pretzel vendor.”
Juxtaposed with Austen’s “Street Types” is “The new street types of New York” which features the work of photographers based in the 5 boroughs of New York City. The full list of 14 photographers includes: Chris Arande, Alice Attie, Dmitri Gudkov, Peter Funch, Andy Jones, Wayne Lawrence, Erica McDonald, Greg Miller, Christine Page, Susannah Ray, Richard Renaldi, Ruddy Rote, Georgie Wood and Anrong Xu.
Of Austen’s “Street Types” CUNY adjunct professor Anna Conlan writes, “I argue Street Types actively contributed to the popular notion of the urban picturesque, designed to simultaneously celebrate and control diversity, titillating the middle classes whilst reassuring them- and perhaps Austen herself- of their privileged place in the new city.”
By contrast many of the images in “The new street types of New York” shows New Yorkers not at work but in many cases recreating while others capture people in a state of emotional display either on their faces or a moment of contemplation. In Austen’s “Street Types” the diversity is one of class while the diversity in “The new street types of New York” is one of culture and skin color.