Abbott, Berenice. (1898–1991)

"The Path of a Steel Ball" - Original Photograph with the pictured Model Train

Original photograph showing "the path of a steel ball ejected vertically from a moving object," by the important and influential American photographer, together with the original model train used in the photograph, a copy of the book Berenice Abbott: Documenting Science, in which the photograph is reproduced, and a notarized letter describing the provenance of the model train which belonged to J. Eric Little, a young relative of the MIT physicist Dr. Elbert Little who assisted Abbott with the project. Gelatin silver print photograph signed at the lower right on the photographer's mount, stamped by the photographer on the verso mount. The photograph has been professionally restored, with surface losses inpainted and the gloss immediately around those areas adjusted to more closely resemble the gloss of the original. 19.25 x 9 inches, mount and frame 30 x 24 inches. 

Berenice Abbott, primarily known for her interwar portraits of New Yorkers and 1930's images of New York skyscrapers, was also a pioneering figure in science photography. After working in London and Paris—where she studied with Man Ray and photographed Jean Cocteau, James Joyce and others—and creating her iconic 1930's images of New York, Abbott became photographic editor of Science Illustrated in 1944. In the late 1950's, she began to work as a photographer at MIT with scientists including Dr. Elbert P. Little. She provided photographs for the core textbook Physics, used by millions of high-schoolers from the 1960's on. Her innovative and beautiful scientific photographs bring to light otherwise invisible phenomena: waves, parabolae, ellipses, force, and energy; many were created with the help of photographic apparatus she designed herself. The retrospective Berenice Abbott: Documenting Science was published to accompany a 2012 exhibition at the MIT museum. (15341)

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