Gertrude Kasebier was one of the first female American photographers, born in 1852 in what is today Des Moines, Iowa she spent her early years in the wild west before settling in New York, marrying and eventually studying photography and art at the Pratt Institute. It is her birthday today which is what led me to investigate her life and work further. I was so pleasantly surprise to learn that she was a true American original. A woman in a man's world at a time when it was unheard of. She spent her working years between New York and Europe, rubbing elbows with some of the era's greatest photographers and artists of her day. A contemporary of F. Holland Day & Edward Steichen through those friendships she found her way to being able to photograph the notoriously reclusive Auguste Rodin in 1905. She was a pioneer in the art of photography, championing the idea of it being a perfect vocation for women. Most striking to me are the portraits she took of the Sioux Indians when her life collided with theirs as they made their way thru New York traveling with the Buffalo Bills Wild West show, she chose to have them sit in a relaxed environment and attempted to capture them as they really were, with as little costume as possible. Her images are held in the National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Institute. What a wonderful treat to find a great female American photographer from long ago who thrived.
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