Elizabeth Alice Austen (March 17th, 1866 - Jun 9th, 1952) was an American photographer from Staten Island. Austin’s interest in photography started when her uncle, Oswald Müller, brought her a camera. Her other uncle was a chemistry professor and he used his knowledge of chemicals to teach Alice the science of the darkroom. In 1899, Austen met Gertrude Amelia Tate. She was a kindergarten teacher in Brooklyn and would later become a lifelong companion of Austen’s. Alice’s work predominantly documents upper middle-class and lower-class people living in Staten Island and in New York’s Lower East side. I really love Austen’s work because unlike most photographers that choose to document either end of the social status spectrum, she captured it all. From the richest of families in NYC to kids on the streets. I admire her versatility within her documentary work in New York. I also admire her character. As a person, I have no doubt that she was a powerhouse of a woman. I read that it was her wish to be buried with Gertrude Amelia Tate, but her and Gertrude's family disapproved and this wish of theirs was never granted. Although this is sad to hear, it just shows a little glimpse into what all she could have faced during her time as an artist, and a lesbian artist at that.
All work courteous of Alice Austin.