POST: 'Alice in Black and White' - a woman/photographer in the 1800

What's it about?

Alice in Black and White is about a woman/photographer in the 1800’s.

What'd I experience?

59E59th is extremely close to Central Park and I was extremely early, so why not? Let me tell you, worst decision ever. All I saw were people running around playing Pokémon Go and it annoyed me. Regardless, my boyfriend decided to meet me so we hung out in the park for a few. Then when it was time to see the play, he said he wanted to go too.
Low-key: I knew he was just trying to be cute because we had just got into an argument.
Low-key I didn't care because I was happy he was going to see theater with me. The play was also about photography and he's into photography so I was like, sure why not.

We get into the theater and there are literally two seats open in the front row, the only seats open. Like Jesus reserved them just for us. It's a very small, intimate theater. There was an old school camera at the side of the stage and photographs surrounded the set. The camera was blocking my boyfriend’s view. Lololol I'm bad luck! The last play we saw his view was blocked too. Luckily the camera was moved after the first 2 minutes.

Lights open at Alice staring in amazement at the first camera ever built. Her mother is trying to simmer down her excitement while her sister is amping her up, “Alice is going to be a famous photographer.” Hmmm, time period check… The first camera was made in about 1840… You know who didn't have rights back then? Women. You know who Alice is? A Woman. So it's looking like a dub for her to get any recognition. Anywayssss photography is a nice hobby.

The way Alice captures photographs is so cute. She was speaking to her childhood friends Violet and Julia while positioning them for the camera. Right when she was about to take the picture. “Sex.” Both of them burst into giggles making for a fun, caught off guard picture. Mannnn, them photos were so creative and on point that I really wanted to look behind the camera and see them. But of course that's impossible because 1. It's a play 2. You would have to develop the photos… not only were the photos cool but so were the transitions. Change of clothing and cameras for each time period, a clear distinction of time passing. It was interesting to see the camera get smaller and smaller. Nowadays, aren't iPhones getting bigger and bigger…

Alice was a fireball. Truly my spirit animal and oh how much I felt for her. Throughout all this hard work and talent that came from photography, we see that she never gained any recognition. The whole story of Alice was told in flashbacks while there were scenes in the present taking place at the Historical Society where they kept all of Alice’s negatives in the basement. The line that hit me the hardest was when the man trying to see the negatives assumed she was a female and the receptionist questioned his usage of she. He replied, “let's be real if she was a man, everyone would know about her and her work would be on display.” Ouch, the truth hurts.

This is based on a true story. Alice Austen is one of the first female photographers to work outside the confines of a studio. Now picture this, someone walking around with a big chunky object claiming to freeze time. Crazy. Now, picture a lady in the 1800’s doing this. They would think of her as mad, ridiculing her at the sight of it. I applaud her. Even though I have never heard of her, I am thankful for her bravery. I am also thankful for theatre bringing light to social issues and allowing me to receive knowledge in an aesthetic way.

Another reason Alice is my spirit animal is because she is ambitious and an individual. She was all about her art. Never worried about boys or any such thing. In fact, she was so in love with her art she didn't bother to look for a husband. Having a husband was not only normal back then but almost mandatory, especially since there were no boys in the family and her parents wanted her to carry the lineage. Her dad even promised to get her a bike in exchange for finding someone to marry. Like lol what that's crazy. And it's not like no one wanted her, she just wasn't interested. And enough to send her father straight to hell, Alice was not only in love with art but in love with a girl. Second social issue light was brought upon. The LGBTQ community. This made things super spicy. I knew from the first moment these girls touched. It was beautiful. Honestly, my parents probably thought I was lesbian until I finally brought a boy home. It's not that I didn't have boyfriend’s. It's just I didn't really care for anyone. I was focused on myself and my art (and school at the time).

Intermission hit and I saw my boyfriend texting one of his friends he's at a play and how good it was. Even gave the name of the play and everything. That was exciting to know he was excited. I was excited but I was also tired so when the lights went down I was ready to go. Andddddd we stopped for fried chicken so life was looking pretty good! :)


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