Biography of Berenice Abbot (1898-1991)

American photographer, born in Springfield (1898) and died in Florida (1991).


Berenice began his professional career as a sculptor. He/She studied in New York and then traveled to Europe. For two years, followed his training between Paris and Berlin. He/She settled in the "city of light", where he/she began to work as Assistant to Man Ray; It began so his career as a photographer.

Its relationship with important personalities from the world of art and literature enabled him, between 1923 and 1925, making a series of portraits the characters of the era, which included Duchamp, Cocteau, Gide, Joyce...His portraits were characterized by each character's own expressions and a careful lighting, by means of which got a naturally caused.

In 1926 he/she acquired an own Studio, where he/she continued to work hard on the portraits and other subjects that was developing day after day. Documentary work on the old Paris and around this city, have a clear influence of the photography of Atget.

After Atget's death in 1927, Abbot supervised the publication of a series of photographs, entitled Atget, photographe de Paris, work in which Walter Benjamin was inspired to develop his ideas about the modern world.

At that time Paris was full of artists surrealist, followers of Atget, as Brassaï, Gisele Freund, André Kertész, Germaine Krull and Man Ray. In May 1928, a retrospective was held about Atget and swim. Coinciding with this exhibition, Berenice Abbot showed his work at the first Salon of the independents the photography, in Paris, together with other known photographers: Paul Outerbridge, Kertesz, Albin-Guillot and Man Ray...Along with Julien Levy Atget, he/she moved to New York in 1929. His best-known work on the city of the skyscrapers is from this period. From a very particular point of view, Abbot captured from the smallest details to all forms of the grandiose architectures.

The work performed as a free-lance, in his Studio and outside it, were published by magazines such as Fortune and Life. Besides the facet of photographer, during the course of 1934 he/she taught photography at the New School for Social Research; and the following year, in 1935, he/she carried out a project for the Works Project Administration of the Federal Art Project (WPA). Part of these photographs were published, in 1939, under the same title: Changing New York.

Documentary photography was another facet of photography that most attracted him. In the 1950s, carried out a project for the Phisical Sciencie Studie Committee, work that was published and exhibited in the exhibition entitled The Image of Physic. The next, and last important on this type of documentary photography work, was on a route that stretched from Maine - where later settled-, to Florida.


ABBOT, Berenice: Berenice Abbott. New York: Aperture, cop. 1988.

P castellanos