Photographer Eugène Atget

Eugène Atget was a French photographer who worked from the late 1800s until his death in 1927. He took thousands of photographs of Paris during his work life, many of which he sold to the National Library, historical societies, and governmental entities. His photographs of architecture and buildings show a glimspe of old Paris that disappeared soon after. He lived in the Montparnasse area of Paris near other artists; Man Ray “discovered” Atget in the early 1920s and published some of his photos in La Révolution surréaliste journal. Ray’s assistant, photographer Berenice Abbott, bought many of Atget’s photographs after he died and published them, exposing them to a much wider audience.

I like the shadows and contrast in his photos, and the eerie blurriness from long exposures. His photos of staircases and doorknockers are great, and his photos of Paris always make me daydream of my favorite city.

Marchand de vin, 1910/1911

Photo courtesy Bibliothèque nationale de France

Corsets, 1912

Photo courtesy Bibliothèque nationale de France

Les Halles, 1910/1911

Photo courtesy Bibliothèque nationale de France

Bitumiers (asphalt layers), 1899/1900

Photo courtesy National Gallery of Art

References:

Atget’s Paris, edited by Hans Christian Admas; Essays by Andreas Krase. Published by Taschen, 2001.

Bibliothèque nationale de France Collections

Berenice Abbott from The Jewish Museum

Atget: The Art of Documentary Photography from the National Gallery of Art

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