Gallery of Fine Art Photography - Atlanta GA

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Berenice Abbott – 1411 9th Street, Augusta GA, 1954

Story Behind the Picture

Berenice Abbott’s 1411 9th Street, Augusta, Georgia, 1954
One of the major topics Berenice Abbott addressed in her Route 1 series was racial tension in the south, primarily in Georgia and Florida. READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

1411 9th Street, Augusta Georgia, 1954

1411 9th Street, Augusta Georgia, 1954

Abbott was uncomfortable documenting poverty, according to colleagues who knew her, but she felt strongly enough about the disparity between the races to push past her reticence. Abbott also brought a different sensibility to the face of poverty than other photographers, such as Margaret Bourke-White, Walker Evans, and other Farm Security photographers, who tackled the same subject. There are subtle shadings of hope in her images, and Abbott was careful to respect peoples’ dignity when she made artistic and technical decisions about the construction of an image.
Abbott always maintained that the physical placement of the view camera was critical for the meaning of the resulting picture, as well as its compositional structure. Because Abbott placed her camera to the left of the home, one of the first objects a viewer sees is the thriving stalks of Sun Flowers abutting the family’s porch. Martha Wheelock points out that this indicates to the viewer that the family is not defeated by their situation, though Abbott still clearly documents their deprivations.

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Photo credits: Harold Feinstein - Coney Island Teenagers, 1949)
(Silver Gelatin Print - 11 x 14)

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