June 22 Art Minute: Berenice Abbott, "New York at Night"
Berenice Abbott’s photograph expresses all of the wonder, vitality, and claustrophobia of life in the big city. Abbott carefully chose the timing of her photograph: about 5 p.m. in the afternoon on December 20, the shortest day of the year. Setting up her camera on the tallest of skyscrapers at the time, the Empire State Building, she waited to take her picture until darkness had fallen and the maximum number of people were still in their offices with their lights on, allowing for the dramatic contrasts that bring her image to life.
Berenice Abbott (American, 1898–1991), New York at Night. Gelatin-silver print, 1934. 13 5/8 x 10 3/4 in. (34.5 x 27.3 cm). Purchased with funds given by an anonymous donor, 1977.29