Frances and Mary Allen
Between 1890 and 1920 the Allen sisters of Deerfield, Massachusetts, created idealized photographs of country scenes, figure and child studies, and landscapes of New England, Quebec, California, and Great Britain. Frances Allen (1854-1941) and Mary Allen (1858-1941) began working as photographers after progressive deafness obliged them to reassess their chosen vocation of teaching. Working within social and aesthetic reforms of the Arts and Crafts Movement, they found that Deerfield's 18th century houses and furnishings offered an ideal environment for their Colonial re-creations. Although these romanticized visions of the past comprise their best-known work, the Allens also mastered less descriptive images with evocative compositions and use of light in the pictorial style advocated by eminent photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen. Their prints were included in significant art photography exhibitions and publications. In 1901 Frances and Mary Allen were praised as being among "the foremost women photographers in America."