Saturday, October 09, 2010

her study

I've done some blog posts on the documentary photographs of Berenice Abbott showing New York City in the 1930s.[1] She was one of many Depression-era photographers who received government paychecks to document the times, but while most of them worked for the Farm Security Administration recording conditions in rural America,[2] she managed to convince managers of the Federal Art Project to fund a documentary record of New York City.[3] In undertaking this project she paid homage to the influence of the French photographer, Eugène Atget, who had captured Paris in the first quarter of the twentieth century. His motives were entirely pragmatic: to earn a living by selling photos to the artists of Montparnasse, but his output was far from utilitarian, rivaling in different medium the paintings of his customers.

There's no direct connection between Atget-Abbott and Fan Ho, but he, like them, is known for images that celebrate a city, in his case, Hong Kong in book entitled Hong Kong Yesterday.[4]

This image is my favorite of Fan Ho's photographs. It's in a style very similar to Atget's.

{Her Study, 1963; source: (OvO) on tumblr, via Nothing New}


These are all by Eugène Atget

{Rue des Ursins, 1923; source:}

{Rue de la Montagne-Sainte-Genevieve, 1924 source:}

{cour 7 rue de Valencia, 1922, Eugene Atget; source:}

{Quai d'Anjou, 6 a.m., 1924; source:}


Some sources:

Berenice Abbott's Changing New York, 1935-1939, Museum of the City of New York

Abbott, Berenice, an overview of her work shown through 10 photographs at Get The Picture

Berenice Abbott by the Smithsonian Museum of American Art

Berenice Abbott (1898-1991) Photojournalism, Portraiture

Berenice Abbott 1898-1991, short biography

Berenice Abbott, photographer: an independent vision by George Sullivan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006)

Changing New York: Photographs by Berenice Abbott, 1935-1938, NYPL

the city of paris, a collection of Atget's photographs on the blog, Miss Parlour

Atget, Eugene, French, 1857-1927 a collection on

Eugene Atget (1856-1927), an exhibition at Temple University

The Atget Rephotographic Project

Hong Kong yesterday by Fan Ho, John A. Bennette, Mark Pinsukanjana, and Bryan Yedinak (Modernbook Editions, 2006)

Fan Ho, biography and many photographs

fan ho 100 photographs

FAN HO 50 Year Retrospective 1954 - 2004, a gallery show

Fan Ho The Living Theatre by Modernbook Gallery

Hong Kong Yesterday, some images

Fan Ho: Hong Kong Yesterday, more photos

Stillness in Motion: The Photographs of Fan Ho



[1] They are [2] Click the FSA label on my blog to see the 40 posts I've put together on the images made by these photographers.

[3] Abbott's life was an interesting one. See "Some sources," above, for links to information about her.

[4] "Born in Shanghai in 1932, Fan Ho later moved with his family to Hong Kong where he began to take photographs using a Rolleiflex given to him by his father. Initially, Fan Ho considered photography an engaging pastime. But as he roamed the streets and alleyways of Hong Kong, he was drawn to the city and its inhabitants." -- From Hong Kong yesterday. The Rollei takes square images, 6 cm. by 6 cm. Atget and Abbott used much larger view cameras. Hers was an 8 in. by 10 in. Century Universal and his was almost the same (it's described here as "a large-format wooden bellows camera with a rapid rectilinear lens. The images were exposed and developed as 18x24cm glass dry plates").

1 comment:

Leo said...

This is wonderful! It made my day...
Thank you.