27 October – 21 November 2015
During a career spanning the best part of the twentieth century, Berenice Abbott (1898-1991) produced one of the most significant and varied bodies of photography ever made. Although widely regarded as one of the most important American documentary photographers, the exhibition will be the first career encompassing retrospective to be mounted in the UK.
The exhibition will include a selection of Abbott’s early portraits taken in both Paris and New York, revealing the influence of Man Ray and the Surrealists. The famous sitters include James Joyce, René Crevel and Eugène Atget. Later on, Abbott conceptualised the project Changing New York as a photographic portrait of the city and worked with the same fastidious documentary precision as her contemporaries, Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange, photographers also employed under the auspices of the New Deal administration.
A selection of science photographs will represent the body of work on which Abbott focused during her later career. Whilst aesthetically unique from her earlier work, Abbott’s science work persisted with her belief that photography should always have a purpose and that it should always teach. The exhibition will also show photographs from Abbott’s lesser-known US Route 1 series. Taken during a road trip through the small towns and holdings down the Eastern seaboard, from Maine to Florida, the photographs are Abbott’s account of the American Scene.