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American Berenice Abbott moved to Paris in 1921, where she served as a darkroom assistant to Man Ray. She eventually became a master photographer in her own right, as well as an inventor of equipment such as the distortion easel, patented in 1951. Projecting the negative of a 1930 portrait onto photographic paper mounted on the flexible easel, she created distorted variations of her own likeness. Her cool self-confidence prevents a reading of the results as a statement of psychological conflict; the images instead appear to be playful experiments. Abbott was a proponent of straight photography and was firmly set against manipulation in her own creative work. The small handful of distorted self-portraits she made were created to advertise and sell the distortion easel, rather than for her own artistic self-expression.