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…photography was "the medium preeminently qualified to unite art with science."

I wanted to combine science and photography in a sensible, unemotional way. Some people’s ideas of scientific photography is just arty design, something pretty. That was not the idea. The idea was to interpret science sensibly, with good proportion, good balance and good lighting, so we could understand it.

–Berenice Abbott

Berenice Abbott’s attraction to facts and information in all of their glory, as well as her interest in the science of photography, made the subject of science a natural choice. According to Abbott, photography was "the medium preeminently qualified to unite art with science. Photography was born in the years which ushered in the scientific age, an offspring of both science and art." (Art in America, Winter 1959) For her Beams of Light Through Glass photograph, she explained:

Multiple beams of light from a source change direction when they go into a glass plate and when they emerge. Some waves are reflected inside the glass and then escape. The prism photograph was done very carefully. The prism was filled with water and not one drop of air was inside. The box that held the light source was specially designed and purposely looks as it does to make for a better composition.

Berenice Abbott American Photographer, 1982

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Minneapolis Institute of Arts