Fields of Inquiry: Photographs by Yola Monakhov Stockton

09/21/14– 12/28/14


Exhibition Opening: Sunday, September 21 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Member's Hour 2-3 p.m.


Artist's Talk during the museum Premiere of the Study on Friday, November 14 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.


This exhibition focuses on two of Yola Monakhov Stockton's bodies of work: Empire Pictures of the Hudson and The Nature of Imitation – exploring how life intercepts with nature. The artist's documentation of nature coincides with Alice Austen's owns obsessive work photographing The Narrows throughout her lifetime. Clear Comfort provides an ideal location to contemplate how their work, history and photography intersect. 


“Nature, in the common sense, refers to essences unchanged by man; space, the air, the river, the leaf. Art is applied to the mixture of his will with the same things…”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature, 1836

The work of Yola Monakhov Stockton speaks to the fact that the contemporary photographer is no longer bound to a limited technology, nor required to define herself through a distinct vision or aesthetic style; instead, she is driven by curiosity, concentration, and a longing to engage with particular subjects, deeply and intensely, via the photographic medium.  Even a cursory glance at Monakhov Stockton’s impressively eclectic portfolio reveals that she is both comfortable and confident in employing a wide variety of visual approaches, languages and strategies in order to convey her exploration of a chosen place, subject, or theme.  Furthermore, in doing so, she inspires her audience to consider whatever she directs their attention to in a similar manner; again, with a profound sense of curiosity, concentration, and engagement. 

In Fields of Inquiry, we encounter selections from two very different bodies of work, which share an underlying theme common to Monakhov Stockton’s oeuvre: the relationship between civilization and nature.  Empire Pictures of the Hudson adopts what might be considered a very “traditional” or “transparent” photographic approach (albeit one that has generally fallen out of fashion in recent decades) – black-and-white, “straight” documentary photography – and concentrates around and upon the Hudson River, the presence of which quietly haunts each picture, and gently infuses every one with an atmosphere of tranquility and meaning well beyond that of the immediate moment they capture.  The images are eclectic - pensive portraits, languid landscapes, cluttered interiors, and curious details – yet each one reveals how the river affects, shapes, influences, and defines us in subtle but important ways through its lingering presence.  And in a sense, the photographs themselves reveal how nature gives us meaning. Work from the bird series represents a reversal of these roles, exploring how we attempt to give meaning to nature.  By assuming the roles of pseudo-ornithologist, still life photographer, and conceptual artist, she exploits the photographic medium’s ability to construct an entirely artificial environment, within which the natural world – in this case, living birds – can be examined, analyzed, and transformed into symbols and metaphors well beyond their literal existence.  Describing the underlying strategy for the project, Monakhov Stockton has explained, “In a sense I’m turning the world itself into a studio.”

In bringing these two bodies of work together, Fields of Inquiry not only reveals the varied, complicated and ever-changing relationships that exist between nature and humanity, the immediate and the abstract, reality and photographic image, and the artist and her audience, but also the inquisitiveness, rigor, and diversity with which Monakhov Stockton is willing to explore such territory. This is not a photographer who is determined to define the world for us as she sees fit, but instead – though careful attention to how (and why) she utilizes both her subject and her medium – quietly reminds us to carefully reflect upon it in a variety of ways for ourselves, both within and outside of her own frame.

“Who looks upon a river in a meditative hour, and is not reminded of the flux of all things?”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature, 1836


Monakhov Stockton’s work deals with landscape and literature, the qualities of boundaries and constraints, data gathering, and the materiality of photography. Her work has been exhibited in the U.S. and internationally. Awards include a Meredith S. Moody fellowship from Yaddo, and a Fellowship from Greve in Chianti (FI)/ Macina di San Cresci. She has worked regularly for The New Yorker, and her work has appeared in Harper's, Esquire, TIME, Marie Claire, Newsweek, and The New York Times. She has worked on assignment in the Middle East, Central Asia, the former Soviet Union, and Iran. She is currently the Harnish Visiting Artist at Smith College and also on the faculty at Columbia University and the International Center of Photography. Her work is in the collection of the Smith College Museum of Art and numerous private collections. She was born in Moscow, Russia, and lives in Northampton, Massachusetts and New York City with her husband and son.

The show is curated by Natalie Matutschovsky, Senior Photo Editor at TIME.
  • Ivory Gate, 2013. Yellow-rumped warbler, photographed in Manomet, Massachusetts.
  • Baby in river, 2010. Photographed near Schuylerville, New York.
  • Prussian Night, 2012. Photographed in Turrialba, Costa Rica.
  • Elegance and Eloquence, 2007. Photographed in northern Manhattan.
  • Blue China, 2011, North–American cardinal, photographed in Manomet, Massachusetts.
  • Swan, 2011. Photographed at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Invisible Migrations

03/5/14– 09/1/14

Opening Reception March 16. Members' hour 2 - 3 p.m. Public opening 3 - 5 p.m.

Recent work on immigration and global human migration by:

Alejandro Cartagena

Kursat Bayhan

Michelle Frankfurter

Francesco Giusti

Jim Goldberg

Glenna Gordon

Katharina Hesse

Seba Kurtis

Gabriele Stabile

Kadir van Lohuizen

Jose Antonio Vargas

And featuring turn-of-the-twentieth-century immigration photographs by Alice Austen (1866-1952).  

“Home is one of the most treasured and most elusive of ideas. It can appear substantial and secure yet quickly vanishes under duress—succumbing to calamity, war or sweeping impoverishment. The photographers in this exhibition bring each of their own distinct perspectives and creative vision to recording this process of disruption, scattering and recovery.” - Howard Chua-Eoan on Invisible Migrations

The museum invites you to share your own immigration stories and photographs that we will post on the Alice Austen House Museum facebook page

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Curated by Paul Moakley and Myles Little of TIME.  

Image (c)Seba Kurtis from the series "A few days more"


Invisible Migrations visitor guide

  • Seba Kurtis, from the series 'A few days more'

War and Peace by Melissa Cacciola

10/7/13– 12/30/13

Tintype portraiture dates back to the Civil War and is one of the earliest photographic processes in history. Its special place in military portraiture began when Matthew Brady brought his photographic darkroom to the battlefield to document the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861. With the one-hundred-and- fiftieth anniversary of the Civil War, and the twelfth year marking the attacks on September 11th, 2001, this is a time for reflection and history.

Tintyping brings great significance to the current portrait project, War and Peace, which presents forty-eight tintype portraits of active duty military and veterans from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines as a kind of confessional before the camera. Men and women of various backgrounds, ages, and roles in the armed forces have been photographed in uniform and civilian attire in an exploration of war, identity, and what serving in the armed forces means. These double portraits contrast each individual and his or her role in the military against his or her identity in a contemporary world that is constantly shifting culturally and politically.

Through the photographic lens the unique medium of the tintype celebrates our individuality in the age of digital photography. As we encounter digital images on the Internet and social media, there is a growing feeling that images lose their sense of permanence or uniqueness. Photographs are no longer created by a chemical interaction between light and silver, but with pixilation and computers whose software is engineered to erase our scars and correct anything ordained to be a flaw. War and Peace makes visible the present-day faces of those in service, a cross-section of our society that we may not often have the chance to see. Through the tintype, our humanity—epic and small—becomes transfixed by the intrinsic characteristics of one of the earliest photographic processes in our history.

Melissa Cacciola studied fine art and the historic preservation of art at Columbia University and New York University. Trained by the legendary John Coffer, Cacciola specializes in tintype and nineteenth-century photographic processes. Her work can be found in the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Steven Kasher Gallery, as well as prominent, private collections, and has also been published by TIME Magazine, NPR, and Newsweek. 

War and Peace has been exhibited at United Photo Industries in New York and the Customs House in Australia. In May 2014, the National Marine Corps Museum in Virginia will showcase the project.

War and Peace is made possible in part by a Premier grant from COAHSI/New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with the City Council (2013). 

  • Melissa Cacciola, Edward, Tintype, 2011


07/18/13– 09/30/13

Alice Austen’s groundbreaking portfolio “Street Types of New York” from 1896, 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, Wayne Lawrence, Erica McDonald, Greg Miller, Christina Paige, Susannah Ray, Richard Renaldi, Ruddy Roye, Andy Vernon-Jones, 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 in 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.

STREET TYPES: Turn of the Century Portraiture by Alice Austen

03/5/13– 06/23/13

This remarkable exhibition brings to life the streets and people of turn-of-the-twentieth-century New York City through a never-before-displayed original portfolio by renowned photographer Alice Austen. Her groundbreaking work as one of the earliest female street photographers captured the changing face of the city’s working class, as the population expanded in the late 1890’s. 

Austen traveled to Manhattan on her bicycle and almost fifty pounds of photographic equipment. The portfolio features a fascinating assortment of city dwellers. It was produced in 1896 by the Albertype Company - our copy on display was originally created as a gift for Alice Austen’s Aunt Min and Uncle Oswald (the same uncle that gave Austen her first camera around age 10).

Along with the portfolio, we have selected an expanded collection of Austen’s work from Manhattan during one of the prolific periods of her life. The show examines Austen’s intentions 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.

While most remember Austen as a wealthy, turn of the century photographer who lived an idyllic life in New York Society, the exhibition proves she is one of America’s earliest, and indeed most prolific, photographers.

Love Alice Austen: A benefit for the Friends of Alice Austen House, Inc.

01/11/13– 02/28/13

Love Alice Austen is a juried show of donated artwork that will be exhibited for one week and auctioned in a benefit for the Alice Austen House Museum. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, The Alice Austen House Museum along with the Parks Department are working to restore the museum’s beachfront park. Your donation will help this effort as we approach our new season of exciting programs and exhibitions.

We invite you to send us submissions of inspiring artwork in all disciplines, including photography, painting, sculpture, illustration, sound, ect. In this time of recovery, strong consideration will be given to the work that carries a theme of love, hope, beauty, renewal, and strength to offer the local community a show of positive works to move forward in 2013.


Jpegs of submission should be sent to By February 5th  2013.

File should be saved as jpegs, 1000px wide. Please do not send hi res files.

Please note: the work doesn’t not have to relate to Superstorm Sandy.

Accepted submissions should be ready to hang on the wall and artists are responsible for the delivery of the work. The museum is happy to help where possible.

About the Auction:

Work will be juried by the staff of the Alice Austen House Museum and Melanie Franklin Cohn, Executive Director of COAHSI.

All selected submissions will be sold in a silent auction to benefit the Alice Austen House Museum’s recovery.

The exhibition opens to the public February 12th hours are Tuesday – Saturday 11 A.M. – 5P.M.

Closing party and auction on February 16th (weather permitting).

Please stay tuned for updates and opportunities to volunteer at and follow us on

Haunted Houses by Corinne May Botz

09/23/12– 12/31/12


Haunted Houses By Corinne May Botz
For more than ten years, the Corinne May Botz searched for ghost stories in buildings across the United States. She ventured into these haunted places with both camera and tape recorder in hand; her photographs, accompanied by first-person narratives, reveal a rare glimpse into American interiors, both physical and psychological.
She says, “The first thing that inspired the project were writers like Edith Wharton, Charlotte Bronte and even Toni Morrison. Often these ghost stories were written by women as a means of articulating domestic discontents. I was interested in the idea of a woman being trapped in the home or by domestic space and how this was expressed in history." 


  • Private Residence, Rhinebeck, New York. Credit: Corinne May Botz

Foreclosed: Documents from the American Housing Crisis

04/1/12– 09/17/12

The Alice Austen House Museum is pleased to present Foreclosed:  Documents from the American Housing Crisis.  The exhibition includes works by: Bruce Gilden, Lauren Greenfield, Todd Hido, Imara Moore, John Moore, John Francis Peters, T.J. Proechel, Brian Shumway, Brian Ulrich and Guillaume Zuili.

The exhibition examines how artists are using photography to record the aftermath of the housing bubble; from its beginning in 2006 to the dramatic effects it still has on the American Landscape today. The artists and photographers in the exhibition depict the ruins of rich and poor neighborhoods, as well as the families affected by the economic downturn. As a result, the exhibition aims to explore the disintegration of the American dream and how it effects a culture where home ownership is no longer a reality for many.

The Alice Austen House provides its unique domestic setting to view the haunting imagery of places now abandoned.  Artists such as Todd Hido capture what has been left behind in these modern ghost towns, whereas documentary photographers like John Moore capture the stories of those most affected. In essence, what has remained is a stark and vast wasteland filled with eerie reminders of what was lost.  Juxtaposing Austen's history and home with photographs depicting the current crisis, the exhibition offers a unique setting to connect the crisis of the Great Depression with the current recession.

The museum will also display Alfred Eisenstaedt's vintage images from LIFE of Alice Austen's emotional visit to the home she lost.

At the May 5th opening, between 1:00-2:00pm, there will be a special presentation with photographer John Moore, Getty Images, and Paul Moakley, Deputy photo editor TIME, about his World Press Photo winning series documenting the American foreclosure crisis followed by a Q&A about the exhibition. 


  • Foreclosure Alley by Guillaume Zuili - Vu

Dressed to Play: Sporting Clothes, 1870 - 1900

07/1/11– 12/15/11


During the late 19th century, the upper and middle classes of American society were introduced to leisurely pursuits such as tennis, hiking, bicycling and golf. Activity-specific sport clothing emerged to meet the physical demands of these new activities. While far less formal than ordinary attire, these garments still followed the accepted rules of fashion. Ensembles worn for croquet and ice-skating were constructed with elaborate drapes over bustle cages during the 1870s and 1880s, while giant, puffed “gigot” sleeves adorned cycling shirtwaists and jackets during the mid-1890s. Despite newfound social freedoms experienced through sporting activities, few concessions were made for the comfort of female players. Decency required women to wear corsets, even while swimming at the beach.

Alice Austen, one of America’s first and most prolific female photographers, not only captured these leisure activities on film, but also participated herself.  She was a master tennis player, sailor, hiker, and horsewoman. Her photographs of adults and children at play are the center of this exhibition. The two adjoining galleries also feature illustrations from magazines and mail order catalogs, all highlighting the relationship between casual sporting attire and social changes at the end of the 19th century. The exhibition culminates in a vignette featuring two fully-dressed mannequins, located in the parlor immediately across the hall.


  • Guests at the opening party for Dressed to Play