Showing posts with label Atget. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Atget. Show all posts

04 December 2007

Paris: Through Eugene Atget's Lens

On a sunny morning in May we set out to discover the Paris of Eugene Atget (1857-1927) at the old Biblotheque Nationale, just behind the Palais Royale.

Atget, a seaman and actor turned photographer, is known for his Paris street scenes, of tradesmen and merchants, of tipped pushcarts and bulging barrels, of haberdashers and fishmongers. Atget took more than 10,000 photos of Paris life, not for art but for income.

He left behind a legacy for today's Paris lovers, who yearn to see their city as it once was.

Old Paris leaps from these photographs of everyday life. Look at one - any one - long enough and you can feel and smell and hear the color and the cacophony of street life. Gaze into one of his misty photos old overgrown parks and you can feel the damp on your face and hear the cries of birds of prey. You can sense the bosky aroma of untended woods. You are there.

I'd heard about the exhibit, but it was not until we saw a photo of one of our favorite little Left Bank corners (just outside the ancient church of St. Julien le Pauvre) at Musée d'Orsay that we decided to go to the show. I thought my husband, a trained photographer and filmmaker, would enjoy it, and he did.

The photo at the top is one of Atget's, looking west Rue des Ursins on Ile de la Cité to the north of Notre Dame. One of my photos of the same area is just above: I am looking east.

I consider it an honor to walk - even for a short time - in Atget's footsteps with my camera.