WASHINGTON, DC.-The National Portrait Gallery opened the exhibit Zaida Ben-Yusuf: New York Portrait Photographer through September 1. Photographer Zaida Ben-Yusuf (1869-1933) was an important figure in the pictorialist photography movement in late 19th and early 20th century New York. The first woman to embark on building a "gallery of illustrious Americans," Ben-Yusuf attracted to her Fifth Avenue studio many of the most prominent artistic, literary, theatrical and political figures of her day.
Hoping to break with the conventions of the past, she was thoroughly modern as both a photographer and a woman. "Zaida Ben-Yusuf: New York Portrait Photographer" is the first exhibition ever to tell the story of her extraordinary life and bring together her portraits. In these images Ben-Yusuf sought not only to portray the key figures in "new New York," but also to revitalize an artistic genre that had grown stale by the end of the nineteenth century.