Berenice Abbott

Category : Arts

bereniceabbott

Berenice Abbott, Self-portrait. Source: George Bush Library. Web. Oct. 7 2014.

Berenice Abbott (1898 – 1991) was a photographer best known for her photographic documentation of New York City in the late 1930s and for her preservation of the works of Eugène Atget.

In 1918, Abbott moved to New York City where she explored sculpture and drawing on her own for four years. She continued these pursuits for a time in Berlin and then from 1923 to 1935 worked as a darkroom assistant to the American Dadaist and Surrealist artist Man Ray in Paris. In 1925 Abbott set up her own photography studio in Paris and made several well-known portraits of expatriates, artists, writers, and aristocrats, including James Joyce, André Gide, Marcel Duchamp, Jean Cocteau, Max Ernst, Leo Stein, Peggy Guggenheim, and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Abbott returned to New York City in 1929 and was struck by its rapid modernization. Continuing to do portraits, she also began to document the city itself.

Over the course of the next two decades Abbott taught photography at the New School for Social Research in New York and experimented with photography as a tool to illustrate scientific phenomena, such as magnetism and motion, for a mass audience. She also continued to document the landscape around her; for one project she photographed scenes along U.S. Route 1 from Florida to Maine. In 1968 she settled in Maine, where she concentrated on printing her work.

Among Abbott’s books are Guide to Better Photography (1941), The View Camera Made Simple (1948), Greenwich Village Today and Yesterday (1949), The World of Atget (1964), A Portrait of Maine (1968), and Berenice Abbott: Photographs (1970).

Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica

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