Berenice Abbott is one of the most significant figures in photography
and her accomplishments in the field were more wide ranging than
any of her contemporaries. Berenice Abbott not only offers
a comprehensive retrospective of her complete oeuvre, encompassing
all the primary projects she undertook in her 60 year career, but
also presents this work in context with her other accomplishments:
inventor, author, teacher and photo historian. This two volume book
is the definitive publication on the life and work of one of the
masters of the photographic medium.
Volume I contains Abbott’s portraits beginning in Paris in
the 1920s. They include many of the most notable and influential
writers, artists, politicians and personalities of the day. Less
known aspects of her work are also well represented, such as her
images of the American Scene including her ground breaking US Route
1 project and her Portrait of Maine in the 1960s.
Also in Volume I is Abbott’s final major undertaking considered
by many to be her crowning achievement – documenting science.
It consumed her from 1939 to1961, culminating with three triumphant
years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, producing work
of astounding beauty and clarity for the Physical Science Study Committee.
Volume II is devoted to her photographs of New York. The monumental
project Changing New York documenting the physical and social
changes of the city in the 1930s is supplemented by her photographs
prior to and after that work as well as those of Greenwich Village