Having spent several years in France closely studying Eugène Atget’s documentation of a disappearing Paris, Abbott returned to New York in 1929 to find a city transformed. Fueled by a financial bubble that was soon to pop, newly constructed skyscrapers created dizzying views and canyon-like streets that dwarfed the scale of human activity. Abbott’s attentive urban observations were captured in her 1939 photobook Changing New York. Related photographs had been published years earlier in the French weekly Vu, testifying to the transatlantic transmission of such imagery.
Gallery label from 2020
The bustling energy and tall buildings of New York City inspired Berenice Abbott. Many of her photographs focus on the shapes, designs, and textures of the city’s architecture. She took photographs from different perspectives, looking down on the glowing lights at night from rooftops, up at the city’s towers from the street, and through the soaring arches of a train station. Look at these photographs and imagine where she was standing to take each picture.
Kids label from 2020