Mar 3, 2010

ghost city: eugene atget's paris

image via

As mentioned in an earlier post, the BBC series The Genius of Photography led me to the work of Eugene Atget: a French photographer, documenting a rapidly disappearing side of Paris in the late nineteenth century.  Entire neighbourhoods which took their shape from the narrow, medieval roads, were reformed in the wake of Baron Haussmann's renovations of  Paris. Atget was elderly when he was taking his series of images of Paris, and persisted with dated cameras and methods, despite advances that had been made in photographic technology. Stubborn, talented, and fascinating - all the right things to be. Moreover, Atget is interesting in relation to his influence on the surrealists. Like archaeologists, they credited themselves with 'discovering' the aging photographer, and they treated his photographs as 'found images' - historical images became a source of the uncanny and unexpected. Looking at Atget's photographs provides not only an education in formalism, but also a journey back in time.

 image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails