Inspiring stories about NZ women photographers – Louisa Herrmann (1864-1955)

Inspiring stories about NZ women photographers – Louisa Herrmann (1864-1955)

Essay by Lissa Mitchell

Te Papa Blog

26 Jun 2018

  Young woman , 1890s, Herrmann studio, Wellington. Gift of Derek Noble. Te Papa (O.004613)

Young woman, 1890s, Herrmann studio, Wellington. Gift of Derek Noble. Te Papa (O.004613)

In 1892, the year before Louisa Herrmann signed the Women’s suffrage petition, her life was turned upside down. Louisa’s is an inspiring story for girls of all ages. Curator Historical Photography Lissa Mitchell shares her story.

‘The most up-to-date and complete studio in the colonies’

From 1892 until 1908 Louisa Herrmann operated the large and successful Herrmann photographic studio in Wellington employing many staff. As a woman running a business of this size at the time, Louisa was unusual.

Newspaper articles from 1897 described Louisa’s studio as the most modern photographic studio in the colony – lavishly furnished with large windows letting in natural light and the modern convenience of electric lights throughout the building.

The first floor included the studio (where photographs were taken) along with a waiting room, toilets, and dressing rooms for customers, while the top floor housed the photographic processing area. On the top floor Louisa had separate toilets installed for her female employees – a small addition that would have made a huge difference to their working lives.

Read full essay on the Te Papa Blog