June 2017 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Instagrammers Inspired by Berenice Abbott’s “Road Trip”

Recently, the Wolfsonian-Florida International University and Instagram forum #JJ Community launched a social media campaign aimed at contemporary photographers, asking them to respond to the work of celebrated WPA photographer Berenice Abbott (1898-1991). Over seven thousand entries were submitted via Instagram, and from those, fifteen finalists have been selected to exhibit their work in the museum's lobby beginning Friday, June 9, in an installation titled The Long Road to Now: Digital Photos Inspired by Berenice Abbott's Road Trip. It coincides with the museum's current exhibit, North and South: Berenice Abbott's U.S. Route 1 (organized by the Syracuse University Art Collection).

The winning entries (pictured below) fall under three themes: Signage, Classic, and Road Trip, each derived from motifs found in North and South. Abbott is largely known for black-and-white photography that depicted urban America between the wars, New York City specifically. On her 1954 journey along U.S. Route 1, she took more than two thousands photographs of East Coast roads, towns, and inhabitants. 

Said Wolfsonian director Tim Rodgers: "In this day and age, with so many millions of images shared, consumed, and quickly forgotten online, we're excited to extend these ephemeral moments for the chance at deeper reflection. The fifteen stunning works, each so carefully considered and skillfully executed, are right at home when seen in conversation with Abbott's iconic images."