Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Eugène Atget: Old Paris


Left to right: Eugène Atget Marchard d’abat jour, rue Lepic 1899-1900, albumen photograph, George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester;Boulevard de Strasbourg 1912, albumen photograph, George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester; Rue Hautefeuille, 6th arrondissement 1898, albumen photograph © Musée Carnavalet, Paris/Roger-Viollet/TopFoto
Eugène Atget
Old Paris
Art Gallery of New South Wales: 24 August – 4 November, 2012

Almost everyone carries around with them a picture of Paris. A mental snapshot that you keep locked away that makes you smile or frown,laugh or cry but that is distinct and unique to you. For me that is what Old Paris is, an insight into the life and times of Eugène Atget and the Paris he saw changing at a rapid pace around him. Baron Haussmann’s 19th-century modernisation program had hit Paris and Atget captured the fading lights of a quickly departing old Paris.

Having inspired many artists, Atget captures buildings, gardens and shop fronts - primarily devoid of human interaction - focusing on light and shade. The urban landscape takes on a life of its own as it fills the frame and the nostalgic undertones are palpable. The photographer's attention to detail and ability to transform a street scene has me looking at the world around me differently and with more interest. These images are simply stunning and a credit to the man who many considered the father of documentary photography.     


Eugène Atget, A corner, Rue de Seine, May 1924

Eugène Atget, Avenue de l'Observatoire, 1926
Eugène Atget, Brocanteur 38 rue Descartes (5e arr), 1909
Eugène Atget, Le Pont Neuf

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