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Perspectives Books and Archives

Berenice Abbott: A View of the 20th Century, 1992

Jul 30, 2021 56 MINUTES
"The only pleasure you can get from creating something is the pleasure you have in doing it, not the final product even," the photographer Berenice Abbott (1898–1991) once said of her work. "That cannot be taken away from you and it cannot be crushed." This clear-eyed, insightful documentary, directed by Martha Wheelock and Kay Weaver, offers a grand tour of Abbott's extraordinary life, from her youth in Ohio and apprenticeship in Paris through her later groundbreaking scientific photography at MIT and final years in Maine. Using the artist's memories as a lens for apprehending nearly a century of American and European cultural history, this film pays homage to Abbott's genius for invention, her free-spirited embrace of uncertainty and experience, and her unshakable devotion to the art of photography.

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As part of The Met’s 150th anniversary, each month in 2020 we released three to four films from the Museum’s extensive moving-image archive. The series will continue on a monthly basis through March 2022.

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