Oct 3, 2007

Focusing Water Waves

Focusing Water Waves


Berenice Abbott

(American, 1898–1991)

Gelatin silver print, photogram

Image: 17.7 x 20.3 cm (6 15/16 x 8 in.); Matted: 40.6 x 50.8 cm (16 x 20 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 2000.80



After decades of photographing buildings and cities, Berenice Abbott turned to scientific principles as subject matter for the latter half of her career. This image was made not with a camera but by placing a sheet of photo paper directly beneath a clear tray of water. Vibrations were sent through the liquid, and light from above exposed the paper, recording the light being reflected and refracted.Because of her scientific interests, Abbott was asked to produce images for numerous science textbooks. In the late 1950s, she was invited to collaborate with scientists and researchers at MIT, whom she viewed as fellow creators.

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