Charles Eisenmann's Photography Studio

Charles Eisenmann's Photography Studio (HM2GKB)

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N 40° 43.328', W 73° 59.587'

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229 Bowery

You are standing next to an 1876 Federal-era building that was the home and studio of Charles Eisenmann, the premier photographer of sideshow exotics - called "freaks" - who worked at circuses and Bowery dime museums.
A German immigrant, Eisenmann worked here from around 1879 to 1893. Jo Jo the "Russian Dog Face Boy," J.D. Avery the Living Skeleton, P.T. Barnum himself and even John Harrison Craig - the heaviest man in the world - made the climb to Eisenmann's 3rd floor studio to get mass quantities of his powerful cabinet card portraits, which were big sellers after their shows.
While modern sensibilities dismiss exhibitions of physical difference as exploitative, paradoxically these performers often commanded the highest salaries, some becoming rich and famous. According to historian Michael Mitchell, their value as attractions gave them a certain "power over their disabilities and their viewers, real financial independence and consequently a kind of dignity."
Photography studios proliferated on the Bowery during Eisenmann's day, and in the last 75 years the street has provided home, studio and/or inspiration to scores of photographers such as Robert Frank, Weegee, Jay Maisel, Nan Goldin and Stephanie Chernikowski.
- David Mulkin, Historian/Educator
Year Placed2016
Placed ByBowery Alliance of Neighbors
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, May 4th, 2019 at 8:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 585035 N 4508399
Decimal Degrees40.72213333, -73.99311667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 43.328', W 73° 59.587'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 43' 19.68" N, 73° 59' 35.22" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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