An exhibition of Eugene Atget’s Paris photographs and Berenice Abbott’s New York photographs will be on display at the Suzanne H. Arnold Gallery at Lebanon Valley College. The exhibit runs from January 17th through March 16th at the gallery just north of Rt. 422 on Rt. 934 in Annville, PA.
Atget was a pioneer in the genre of documentary street photography. He documented Paris architecture in part under a commission from the Paris Library of History in the early 1900s. Most of his work was done with a large format glass dry plate technique. He was primarily interested in preserving with photography older structures and street scenes, many of which were slated for demolition. He also turned his camera on the poor, the homeless, and street vendors and prostitutes.
Berenice Abbott was born about the time Atget started photographing Paris. She went to Europe in 1921 and worked for Man Ray as a darkroom assistant. In 1925 he introduced her to Eugene Atget whose work she admired and promoted. She acquired some of his negatives after his death and in 1930 published Atget, photographe de Paris. She promoted his work until she later sold her archive to the Museum of Modern Art in 1968.
Undoubtedly responsible for international recognition of Atget’s work, she was similarly influenced by it. Returning to the U.S. in 1929, she turned her own camera on New York City. She favored documentation of older architecture in the same way that Atget did Paris, even to the point of using a similar large format camera. But, she also documented the people of the city and their interaction with their environment.
An opening reception will be held at the gallery on Friday January 17th from 5 to 7 p.m, and is open to the public.