A taxing photograph: The WPA real property survey of New York City

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Two systematic projects of documentary photography capture the spirit of the New York City during the tumultuous 1930s. One of these, Berenice Abbott's Changing New York, is well-known. Prepared under the auspices of the US federal government's Works Progress Administration (WPA), Abbott produced over 300 views of a rapidly changing urban environment. 1 Her work is justly celebrated for its dramatic depiction of a modern metropolis of towers, bridges and highways emerging from a nineteenth-century fabric of row-houses and tenements. The confrontation of old and new, which Abbott skilfully and artistically rendered, provides Changing New York with much of its visual power. Abbott's vision of the city enjoys an established place in the canon of photography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-136
Number of pages14
JournalHistory of Photography
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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