B. United States, 1898 – 1991
B. United States1898 – 1991
Berenice Abbott is widely regarded as one of the most important American documentary photographers. Abbott began her career in Paris working as the assistant to Man Ray in his studio. Swiftly taking to film photography herself, Abbott began taking her own portraits.
Abbotts photographic style grew to be more spontaneous and natural following her move back to New York in 1929, where she began meticulously documenting its streets, buildings, parks and people. The city’s urban sprawl caught hold of Abbott’s imagination and she devoted herself to capturing the “fantastic” contrasts of the rapidly changing city. Rather than glorifying the technological advancement of the city through the depiction of skyscrapers and monumental construction projects, Abbott sought to expose the extreme contrasts of the city and the tensions that had evolved. Her photographs show the nineteenth and twentieth centuries colliding in a dizzying interplay of cultures. The project is a homage to the city and its inhabitants but also a politically-motivated impeachment against the capitalist expansion that endured in New York despite the misery experienced by millions during the Great Depression.
Berenice Abbott was born in Springfield, Ohio, on 17 July 1898. She studied at Ohio State University in Columbus before moving to New York City. Following on from a successful solo exhibition at a Paris gallery, Abbott’s work was exhibited alongside that of Man Ray, André Kertesz and Germaine Krull in The First Independent Photography Exhibition in 1928. In 1970 the Museum of Modern Art, New York, held an exhibition of her photographs. In 1989 a huge exhibition at the New York Public Library celebrated Abbott’s sixty-year career.
Thank you for your enquiry. We will be in touch shortly.