Berenice Abbott is to American photography what Georgia O’Keeffe is to painting or Willa Cather to letters. Abbott’s sixty-year career established her not only as a master of American photography but also as a teacher, writer, archivist and inventor.
A teenage rebel from Ohio, Abbott escaped to Paris-photographing, in Sylvia Beach’s words, “everyone who was anyone”-before returning to New York as the Roaring Twenties ended. Abbott’s best known work, “Changing New York”, documented the city’s 1930s metamorphosis. She then turned to science as a subject, culminating in work important to the 1950s “space race”. This biography secures Abbott’s place in the histories of photography and modern art while framing her accomplishments as a female artist and entrepreneur.