Europe: Photography and poetry


English: This photograph of Berenice Abbott wa...

English: This photograph of Berenice Abbott was taken by Hank O’Neal at his Downtown Sound Studio in New York City, 18 November 1979 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Relating the concept of space with continuity, movement and time has been the tendency
of historians as early as the 19th century. However, time is not considered as a dimension of
space before the 20th century. Despite Futurist Filippo T. Marinetti who claims

“time and space
died yesterday” (Caws, 2001: 187), space-time becomes a new concept in art and architecture
with the influence of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity in physics and the mechanical
improvements in technology. Four-dimensional space replaces Euclidean space first in Cubism.
The concept of simultaneity brings forth the coexistence of more than one point of view
expressing aesthetic experience in time. Representation of the visual memory of a moving
observer is preferred to optical vision in Cubist paintings.
Abbott’s subjects were people in the artistic and literary worlds, including French nationals (Jean Cocteau), expatriates (James Joyce), and others just passing through the city. According to Sylvia Beach, “To be ‘done’ by Man Ray or Berenice Abbott meant you rated as somebody”.[9] Abbott’s work was exhibited with that of Man Ray, André Kertész, and others in Paris, in the “Salon de l’Escalier” (more formally, the Premier Salon Indépendant de la Photographie), and on the staircase of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. Her portraiture was unusual within exhibitions of modernist photography held in 1928–9 in Brussels and Germany.[10]
In 1925, Man Ray introduced her to Eugène Atget‘s photographs. She became a great admirer of Atget’s work, and managed to persuade him to sit for a portrait in 1927. He died shortly thereafter. While the government acquired much of Atget’s archive — Atget had sold 2,621 negatives in 1920, and his friend and executor André Calmettes sold 2,000 more immediately after his death[11] — Abbott was able to buy the remainder in June 1928, and quickly started work on its promotion. An early tangible result was the 1930 book Atget, photographe de Paris, in which she is described as photo editor. Abbott’s work on Atget’s behalf would continue until her sale of the archive to the Museum of Modern Art in 1968. In addition to her book The World of Atget (1964), she provided the photographs for A Vision of Paris (1963), published a portfolio, Twenty Photographs, and wrote essays.[12] Her sustained efforts helped Atget gain international recognition.

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