You've Got to Do a Damn Sight Better Than That, Buster: Working with Berenice Abbott 1972-1991
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An informal, rollicking memoir of Berenice Abbott by her close friend and collaborator
Hank O'Neal met Berenice Abbott in 1972 at the coffee shop of a Holiday Inn on 57th Street in New York City. After a two-hour meeting Abbott suggested he should visit her if he was ever near Moosehead Lake in northern Maine. In the fall of 1973 O'Neal did just that, spending a long weekend with Abbott at her circa 1810 stagecoach inn. They hit it off and at the end of the stay she said, "If you ever get a real camera come up here and I'll teach you how to use it." In early 1974 he bought an 8x10 Deardorff camera and in the summer of that year headed back to Maine. The first and only lesson lasted about 30 minutes: Abbott told him to photograph the antique doorknocker on her front door. After almost an hour she returned to check on his progress and said, "You've got to do a damn sight better than that, buster"--not only sound advice but a great title for a book.
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