Changing New York. Photographs by Berenice Abbott. Text by Elizabeth McCausland. Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration in the City of New York, under the Sponsorship of the Guilds' Committee for Federal Writer's Publications. E.P. Dutton & Co., New York, 1939. 206 pp. Quarto. First edition. Blue cloth, gilt-lettered spine and cover with the WPA emblem in gilt. 98 Black-and-white reproductions. |
One of the undisputed classics; a must for any serious collection!
Visit the Museum of the City of New York for to see the complete series of 307 images from which the 98 that appear in this renowned volume were chosen.
"How shall the two-dimensional print in black and white suggest the flux of activity of the metropolis, the interaction of human beings and solid architectural constructions, all impinging upon each other in time?"--Berenice Abbott, from an introduction to "Outline for Photographing New York City," quoted in Bonnie Yochelson, "A Fantastic Passion for New York"
"Changing New York not only fulfills Abbott's criterion for the historical importance of the documentary mode, but also demonstrates its power as a medium of personal expression"--Parr & Badger
"Upon Abbott’s return to New York in 1929, she moved away from portrait photography to documentary photography akin to Atget’s images, using the city as her subject. During the 1930s she embarked on a project to capture the transformation of New York into a modern urban center. Abbott was particularly interested in the physical changes that the city had undergone, its changing neighborhoods with huge skyscrapers replacing older low-rise buildings. She began a series of documentary photographs of the city as part of a Federal Works Project Administration initiative carried out from 1935 to 1939. At the end of the project, she published her photographs as a book entitled Changing New York. Abbott favored a straightforward, yet dynamic, style that featured strong contrasts and dramatic angles. 'Photography can never grow up if it imitates some other medium,' Abbott said, 'it has to walk alone; it has to be itself.'"--The Phillips Collection
"[Abbott's] most famous for a series of pictures that in their way link back to Atget's great project, the documenting of areas of "old Paris" that were being cleared to make way for the new city. But whereas Atget's pictures record the passing of places he loved, Abbott's project, Changing New York, was filled with the optimism of the post-Depression era when there were jobs again, particularly in construction: new skyscrapers, new cars, new roads, new bridges. There were jobs for artists, too, and the majority of Abbott's New York photographs were taken between 1935 and 1939 when she received funding from the Federal Art Project, the creative arm of Roosevelt's New Deal...Like Batman, she was able to look down on Gotham from a great height. And what she saw was New York's enterprise: its advertising hoardings and neon signs, its cars, its gas stations, the elegant 1930s Greyhound terminal with the buses berthed along its sides like great liners at a quay. But she also found a place for the neighbourhoods where commerce still survived, as it did in Atget's Paris, at street level."--Excerpted from Liz Jobey, Photographers Berenice Abbott and Bill Wood: Paris, New York and Texas, The Guardian, Thursday 30 October 2008.
Near Fine+; boards clean and bright; endpapers and pastedowns have the usual tanning and discoloration; corners just a bit less than crisp; jacket Very Good with slight losses to spine ends; several smaller edge chips and tears (1/2-3/4") along edges and spine area.