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            BERENICE  ABBOTT     
            1898–1991

Bernice Abbott

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The question was put to readers in the October 1980 issue of ARTnews: "Are Women Better Photographers Than Men?" Decades earlier, Berenice Abbott had already answered the question: "I'm not a woman photographer; I'm a photographer." In Lotte Jacobi's portrait, we are confronted by Abbott, best known for her penetrating portraits of Parisian literati in the twenties and her documentation of New York City in the thirties. Abbott took seriously the potential of her medium to capture more than mere formal values. Proving herself by consistently rising to that challenge, she once remarked that if photography "is representational by nature of the realistic image formed by a lens . . . we should take hold of that very quality, make use of it, and explore it to its fullest."

Lotte Jacobi (1896-1990)
Gelatin silver print, circa 1943
(printed 1996)
Published October 1980
Courtesy The Art Gallery and the Lotte Jacobi Archives, University of New Hampshire, Durham
(Printable page)

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