Let­ters from

The New York Review of Books - - Contents -

Dono­van Reynolds, Regina Mar­ler, and C. Ger­hart­sre­iter (aka Clark Rock­e­feller)

To the Edi­tors:

In her re­view of Berenice Ab­bott: A Life

in Pho­tog­ra­phy [NYR, May 10], Regina Mar­ler claims that Ab­bott does not ap­pear in Man Ray’s au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, Self-Por­trait

(1963), and that the omis­sion was, ac­cord­ing to Ab­bott, “rather dirty,” even “bitchy.” But on page 92, she does ap­pear, and in a very pos­i­tive light. He de­scribes meet­ing a young sculp­tor in a New York café who agreed to model for him at a time when he was just be­gin­ning his in­ter­est in por­trait pho­tog­ra­phy. She also of­fered to teach him to dance:

And she did, very eas­ily. There was noth­ing to it. I had a sense of rhythm, she said—that was all one needed. I was elated—all the arts that had seemed be­yond me were now within my grasp; pho­tog­ra­phy, danc­ing, ev­ery­thing was pos­si­ble.

She kept her ap­point­ment and I made sev­eral stud­ies of her head. Her name was Berenice Ab­bott.

To me this sounds nei­ther dirty nor bitchy, but an ac­knowl­edg­ment of her key role in Ray’s artis­tic de­vel­op­ment.

Dono­van Reynolds Bear Lake, Michi­gan

Regina Mar­ler replies:

I thank Dono­van Reynolds for his cor­rec­tion. Both Ab­bott and I missed this lovely

de­scrip­tion of her early friend­ship with Man Ray, per­haps be­cause both the first and sec­ond edi­tions of Ray’s Self-Por­trait (At­lantic Monthly Press, 1963, and McMil­lan pa­per­back, 1979) have no in­dex. There may still be some emo­tional truth in Ab­bott’s er­ror: she is de­scribed only as a sculp­tor and model, not as the ac­claimed pho­tog­ra­pher she be­came, and their en­tire Paris ex­pe­ri­ence to­gether goes with­out men­tion. She is in­cluded as a relic of his New York days, and he mis­spells her last name as “Ab­bot,” although Mr. Reynolds si­lently cor­rects this in his let­ter. The third and most re­cent edi­tion of Man Ray’s au­to­bi­og­ra­phy (Lit­tle, Brown, 1998) does have an in­dex, to which I ea­gerly turned: but Berenice Ab­bott (or Ab­bot) does not ap­pear.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.