“I took to photography like a duck to water,” Berenice Abbott declared in 1976. “I never wanted to do anything else.”
To say “never” was a slight exaggeration. Abbott left her native Ohio in 1918 to seek out a more adventurous and cosmopolitan life in New York, where she tried her hand at acting and sculpting. Only when she ventured to Paris three years later and found employment in Man Ray’s studio did she discover her true vocation. Upon her return to New York in 1929, Abbott commenced to photograph the landscape, architecture, and faces of the United States, which she did persistently for decades.