Atget So Somber

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by Shawn Rahman, Oct 26, 2007.

  1. Shawn Rahman

    Shawn Rahman Subscriber

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    I have been studying a lot of Atget lately. I find his work compelling and beautiful, but I always feel somber after spending some time looking at his work. Does anyone else feel that way? I find it almost hard to describe.
     
  2. David R Munson

    David R Munson Member

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    Not necessarily with Atget (haven't given him enough attention as of yet), but I can completely relate. There's a wonderful book of urban/architectural work by Masataka Nakano called Tokyo Nobody that has this effect on me. Same goes for James Fee's work, among others.
     
  3. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    IMHO, the Paris Atget photographed was dying. Atget knew that and his sadness shows through in his art.
     
  4. dim

    dim Member

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    In my humble opinion Atget is one of the greatest photographers existed up to now. What he managed to do has inspired many other photographers, but no one could reach his "depth of vision". Pictures that seem at the first glance unimportant, give to the trained to see viewer pleasure of discovering great photographs and a "different" world.


    When i look at his pictures i feel traveling to another world. Not Paris of his age, but somewhere that fantasy and transcendency of reality make a world of their own.


    You can see 494 of his photographs here:

    George Eastman House, Atget Series.


    -Dimitris
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2007
  5. matti

    matti Member

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  6. Anton Lukoszevieze

    Anton Lukoszevieze Subscriber

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    atget

    Atget's work is beautiful. I think the melancholy may arise from the absence of people in a majority of his photos. When people are there they are often just a ghostly presence due to the long exposures. Absence of cars and the general detritus of modern city life looks truly wonderful, and is perhaps almost a shock to our 21st century eyes. Late in his life he photographed very early in the day, so the light is often quite magical.
     
  7. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Atget's work was shown in the gallery of the University I went to in the late '70's, when seen it is very different than in a book, it's alive and full of depth and not nearly as gloomy as one might suspect.
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    he made a lot of his photographs very early in the morning ...
    while many of his images were to document olde paris before
    the urban renewal project, he also photographed the "little professions"
    and people who would be displaced ... ragman, bread man, barrel maker,
    organ grinder, gypsy colony &C

    .... interesting that a lot of the atget collection at the george eastman house
    was the former collection of man ray :wink:
     
  9. hal9000

    hal9000 Member

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    Exhibit in Berlin

    Just in case anyone is visiting Berlin in the near future, the Martin Gropius Bau is currently showing a grand retrospective of Atget's work with 350 of his prints. The exhibit runs until 6 January 2008. An extensive description of the exhibit can be found here
     
  10. bwphoto

    bwphoto Member

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    Thank you all for contributing to this thread of a truly gifted photographer/artist and I agree with Dimitris " In my humble opinion Atget is one of the greatest photographers existed up to now", I will second that. When I taught photography (actually, how do you 'teach' photography) and young people would ask "how do I learn how to see"? I would refer them to Atget, the smart ones would thank me, others did not get it and missed the opportunity. I am reminded every day of what wonderful vision Atget possessed, above my computer I hung an MoMA poster circa 1969 of one of his wonderful St. Cloud photographs of a tree and statue, taken in 1926, year before his death. Will there be a book/catalog from the Martin Gropius Bau exhibit?
     
  11. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    I think the somber tone of his photos is due to our perspective on his work. Atget was truly one of the world's most gifted photographers but most, if not all, of his photographs were made to sell as a way to earn a living. As we look at them today, we can't help but feel a sensation of loss since the Paris he loved and photographed is no more. It's a bittersweet experience to view Atget's photos.

    ".... interesting that a lot of the atget collection at the george eastman house was the former collection of man ray."

    If I remember correctly, Atget was idolized by the surrealists of the day.
     
  12. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    To me, the most exciting things about Atget's photographs are that he knew exactly where to put the tripod. His vision seems to me to be far ahead of his contemporaries.