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       The View Camera

       Where are all the people?


Number 8 Fifth Avenue, on the far right in the picture, was originally built as a single family home. Constructed of white Vermont marble, it stood out against the red brick of its neighbors. When Berenice Abbott made this photograph the white building had been divided into apartments and named The Marble House.

All cameras tend to flatten out space. The fact that Abbott used a large format view camera with adjustments that correct for distortion and add to the flatness of an image give this photograph the feeling of a paper cut-out or computer graphic. The shadow of a large apartment building across the street fills the foreground and bright sunlight bounces off the white marble. The architectural details of the three building faces stand out in strong black and white contrasts because of the long shadows created by the morning angle of the sun.


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Minneapolis Institute of Arts