Erie Ferries Ships, Manhattan, March 23, 1939


Silver print

15.6 x 24.2 cm (6 1/8 x 9 1/2 in.)

A lively square in front of a ferry terminal with a sober façade is the subject of Erie Ferries Ships, Manhattan, March 23, 1939. The contrasting aesthetics of black-and-white photography gives the scene, despite its apparent banality, a certain strangeness.

This seemingly documentary photograph belongs to the "Changing New York" project Berenice Abbott worked on between 1935 and 1939, when she walked the burgeoning city’s length and breadth taking thousands of shots. Wanting her project to be a true social portrait of the city, she did not settle for quaintness but sought to capture New Yorkers’ daily lives and include them as often as possible in her shots.

Erie Ferries Ships, Manhattan, March 23, 1939 was presented for the first time by the Pinault Collection at the 2019 "Luogo e Segni" ("Place and Signs") show at the Punta della Dogana in Venice.

Berenice Abbott's other artwork