Berenice Abbott: Bouncing Ball Time Exposure, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1958–61
In 1939 Abbott began her most ambitious photographic project. Believing scientific phenomena to be as valid a subject for artistic statements as man and his works, she undertook to prove that photography was the medium uniquely qualified to unite art with science. She labored alone for nearly twenty years with little or no encouragement until finally, in 1958, her work was recognized by the Physical Science Study Committee and she was hired to work with that group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for three years. In this period, spanning twenty-two years, Abbott produced thousands of photographs in formats ranging from 8” x 10” to 16” x 20” and designed and patented a good deal of scientific equipment, including two cameras. Abbott’s scientific photographs are her most significant and in years to come they will perhaps be recognized as her outstanding accomplishment.