Photographer Berenice Abbott brought motion into the still frame, and brings the visuality of movement to a new show at MIT.
Bodies fall at the same speed. The angle at which a ball hits a surface will be the same as the angle at which it rebounds. Nature is full of orderly progressions and predictable outcomes. Nature is never at rest. These are some of the things I learned from my visit to the Berenice Abbott show Photography and Science: An Essential Unity.
Abbott’s photographic work with the Physical Science Study Committee (PSSC) in the 1960s and ’70s, on display through December at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, MA, demonstrates her successful attempt to express what she called “the poetry of [science’s] own vast implications,” implications for all of us immersed in the minutiae of our lives. While Abbott is best known for her black and white architectural photographs of New York City, at the heart of this show are her later photographs of waves: periodic straight waves, reflected water waves, water waves changing direction, water waves producing shadows. Everything, it turns out, moves as a wave.