Abbott spent the 1920s in Paris where she came across the work ofEugène Atget. For more than thirty years Atget had documented the city, photographing it as it was transformed into a modern metropolis. Abbott returned to New York in 1929 and was astounded by the rapid transformation that the city had undergone. Using Atget’s monumental study of Paris as a model, she set out with a large format camera, photographing new buildings alongside the old. She strongly believed that, to have merit, photography must align itself to the real and historical, not the imagination.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010