Florestine Perrault Collins was a photographer based in New Orleans. During the 1920s, there were only about one-hundred black women who identified as photographers in the United States at the time.
Collins was born around 1895 in New Orleans to parents who were free people of color. At an early age, she discontinued her formal education to help with the family’s income. By the age of 14, Collins found work assisting other photographers because she was able to ‘pass’ as white. She worked taking pictures for weddings, communions, graduations, and several other occasions. Collin’s first husband, Eilert Bertrand, often restrained her public appearances because he believed that women should devote themselves to their home life.
By the time she was able to open her own studio, she had a long list of faithful clients which included African Americans and Collins was no longer hiding her race or staying out of the public eye. She often advertised her business including a picture of herself so that she would not be confused with other photographers in the area.
Collins is remembered as a photographer who went against the very popular narrative of negative portrayals of blacks in the media by working with her clients to make photographs that “reflected pride, elegance, and dignity.