Berenice Abbott

July 17, 1898 - December 9, 1991

Berenice's Early Life

Berenice was born on July 17, 1898 in Springfield, Ohio. She was raised by a single mother after her parents got divorced early in her life. After grade school Berenice attend Ohio State University for one year before leaving for New York to do sculpture.
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Berenice's Art Work Styles

While living in New York Berenice met May Ray. In the 1920's she relocated to Europe to become a photography assist for Ray. While working for Ray Berenice discovered her talent and skill for photography and left to pursue a career in photography. In 1929 she returned to New York and focused on documentary photography she used the city as her subject she photographed. She published a book of her documentary photos that was titled Changing New York. In 1940, Berenice worked for Science Illustrate she worked as the photo editor. Twenty-six years later she moved to Maine where she became a science photographer. It was later in Maine the Berenice died.


"People say they need to express their emotions I'm sick of that. Photography doesn't teach you to express your emotions it teaches you to see." -Berenice Abbott

Berenice was determined that photography was just another way to view the world. She took pictures of the city to expand her views. She said that her photographs were not to express her emotions but rather a way to see the world from a different view.

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Buzz about Berenice

"Berenice Abbott is remembered as one of the most independent, determined and respected photographers of the twentieth century." says International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum

"Miss Abbott is best known for her powerful black-and-white photographs of New York City in the 1930's. In these pictures, she used the tools of modernist photographic style -- including dynamically framed compositions, flattened pictorial space, high angles, and great detail -- to capture the enormous energy and variety of the city." says The New York Times

My Thoughts

I appreciate that she does not look at her photography as a way of expressing her emotions, but rather a way to see the world. By looking through her photos I was able to see the image that she was trying to portray to her audience. Berenice showed the busy city however brought a sense of grace to the photos. Her photos are amazing and give a sense of life to New York.