Berenice Abbott

Born in Springfield, Ohio, Berenice Abbott spent the early part of her artistic career studying sculpture in New York, Berlin, and Paris. Her introduction to photography came when she made contact with the famed Surrealist Man Ray, who hired her as a darkroom assistant. Upon return to New York, Abbot began documenting the city in the manner of one of her major influences Eugène Atget. She is best known for her series Changing New York (1936–1938), which captured the architecture and shifting social landscape of New York during the Great Depression as a part of the WPA’s Federal Art Project. These images were both critically and commercially successful and remains a classic text for historians of photography today.

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