Christmas always makes me want to be in New York, though the last time I spent a Christmas in NY I was probably 10 years old. Every holiday of my childhood included visits to my grandparents, and my great grandfather. I even had chicken pox one year. I’d sleep in the car on the drive, and wake up to put my head out the window and soak in the skyline. FAO Schwartz, Rockefeller Plaza, the Library, ice skating, cups of cocoa, red corduroy knickers and matching sweaters.
Curiously, as today is the anniversary of her death (ghosts in the ether!) this morning I came across these fantastic images by Berenice Abbott. (Click link for full collection!)
Berenice Abbott (July 17, 1898 â€“ December 9, 1991), born Bernice Abbott, was an American photographer best known for her black-and-white photography of New York City architecture and urban design of the 1930s.
Abbott first became involved with photography in 1923, when Man Ray, looking for somebody who knew nothing about photography and thus would do as he said, hired her as a darkroom assistant at his portrait studio in Montparnasse. Later she would write: “I took to photography like a duck to water. I never wanted to do anything else.” Ray was impressed by her darkroom work and allowed her to use his studio to take her own photographs. In 1926, she had her first solo exhibition (in the gallery “Au Sacre du Printemps”) and started her own studio on the rue du Bac. After a short time studying photography in Berlin, she returned to Paris in 1927 and started a second studio, on the rue Servandoni.
In early 1929, Abbott visited New York City. Upon seeing the city again, Abbott immediately saw the photographic potential of the city. Accordingly, she went back to Paris, closed up her studio, and returned to New York in September. (Where she lived with her ladyfriend!)
Portrait of Berenice by Man Ray.