The photographs that launched Abbott's career: portraits of artists and writers in prewar Paris, from Jean Cocteau to James Joyce
This is one in a series of books to be published by Steidl that will explore Berenice Abbott’s oeuvre. Abbott began her photographic career in Paris in 1925, taking portraits of some the most celebrated artists and writers of the day, including Marie Laurencin, Jean Cocteau, Peggy Guggenheim, Coco Chanel, Max Ernst, André Gide, Philippe Soupault and James Joyce. Within a year her work was exhibited and acclaimed. Paris Portraits 1925–1930 features the results of Abbott’s earliest photographic project and illustrates the philosophy of all her subsequent work. For this landmark book, 115 portraits of 83 subjects have been scanned from the original glass negatives, which have been printed in full.
Berenice Abbott was born in Springfield, Ohio, in 1898. She left Ohio State University early for New York's Greenwich Village in 1918, where she spent several years before studying in Europe. Abbott was first introduced to photography while studying sculpture in Paris; she became Man Ray's darkroom assistant and soon began her own studio, practicing primarily portrait photography. In 1929 she returned to New York, photographing its neighborhoods, buildings and residents. After a lung operation in the 1950s, on doctor's orders to escape urban pollution, Abbott resettled in Maine, where she would remain until her death in 1991.