History of Photography

Introduction History of Photography (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

A World History of Photography (by Naomi Rosenblum)

The Story Behind the Pictures 1827-1991 (by Hans-Michael Koetzle)

Photographers' Dictionary
(based on "20th Century Photography - Museum Ludwig Cologne")



Photographers' Dictionary

(based on "20th Century Photography-Museum Ludwig Cologne")




Berenice Abbott

(July 17, 1898 – December 9, 1991)

American photographer. She spent a term at the Ohio State University in Columbus (1917–18) and then studied sculpture independently in New York (1918–21) where she met Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray. She left the USA for Paris in 1921 where she studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière before attending the Kunstschule in Berlin for less than a year in 1923. From 1924 to 1926 she worked as Man Ray’s assistant and first saw photographs by Eugène Atget in Man Ray’s studio in 1925. Her first one-woman show, at the gallery Le Sacre du Printemps in Paris in 1926, was devoted to portraits of avant-garde personalities such as Jean Cocteau, James Joyce and André Gide. She continued to take portraits until leaving Paris in 1929, such as that of James Joyce (1927; see Berenice Abbott: Photographs, p. 26). After Atget’s death (1927) she bought most of his negatives and prints in 1928, and in 1929 she returned to New York. There she began a series of documentary photographs of the city and from 1935 to 1939 directed the ‘Changing New York’ project for the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project, which resulted in the book of photographs Changing New York (1939). Like Atget’s views of Paris these covered both the people and architecture of New York in a methodical and detached way. The images in Greenwich Village Today and Yesterday (1949) were motivated by a similar spirit. She also took various portrait photographs in the 1930s and 1940s, such as that of Max Ernst (1941).


Cedar Street from William Street, New York, 1939.


New York at Night, 1933


Blossom Restaurant, 103 Bowery, Manhattan.


James Joyce


Tri-Boro Barber School, 264 Bowery
c. 1935-39


Bread Store, 259 Bleecker Street
c. 1935-39


El at Columbus Avenue and Broadway
c. 1935-39


Rockefeller Center from 444 Madison Avenue
c. 1935-39


Canyon: Broadway and Exchange Place
c. 1935-39


"El", Second and Third Avenue Lines
c. 1935-39


Father Duffy, Times Square
c. 1935-39


DePeyster Statue, Bowling Green
c. 1935-39


William Goldberg
c. 1935-39


St. Mark's Church: Skywriting Spiral,
East 10th Street and Second Avenue
c. 1935-39


Stone and William Streets
c. 1935-39


Court of the First Model Tenements in New York City,
361-365 East 71st Street
c. 1935-39


Newstand; 32nd Street and Third Avenue. Nov. 19, 1935


Murray Hill Hotel; From Park Avenue and 40th Street. Nov. 19, 1935


Daily News Building; 42nd Street between Second and Third Avenues. Nov. 21, 1935


Cliff and Ferry Street. Nov. 29, 1935


Seventh Avenue looking south from 35th Street. Dec. 5, 1935


40th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. Sept. 8, 1938


Rope Store; South Street and James Slip. Feb. 5, 1936


Columbus Circle. Feb. 10, 1938


Pike and Henry Street. Mar. 6, 1936


0A & P (Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.) 246 Third Avenue. Mar. 16, 1936


Pine Street: U.S. Treasury in background; near Nassau Street. Mar. 26, 1936


St. Bartholomew's, Waldorf Astoria, General electric building; Park Avenue and 51st Street. Apr. 2, 1936


Department of Docks and Police Station. May 5, 1936


"El" Second and Third Avenue lines; Bowery and Doyer St. Apr. 24, 1936


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