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  1. #21
    cliveh's Avatar
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    I would suggest that Atget is the Van Gogh of photography.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  2. #22

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    i enjoy atget's work a lot. both because of the technical mastery he must have had to deal with his materials
    ( ortho-type emulsions are not the easiest to deal with ... ) and i really enjoy looking at what places used to be like.
    atget was commissioned by the archives to record the city, its monuments, street vendors &c so when the city was "urban renewal'ized"
    there would be some sort of visual record of what was there. he was using photography for its best use... to document.
    i am a little bias, seeing i have a background in the built environment and portrait making and often get commissioned to do exactly what he did.
    i think it was great that bernice abbott helped him as she did. he started off poor, barely eeked out a living and before she found all his glass plates in a dumpster
    he would have ended up as a complete unknown ( except in archive's circles ) ... and now we know of him ...
    Last edited by jnanian; 02-12-2013 at 03:04 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #23

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    Abbott, in my mind, seems to have had her judgement clouded by her romance with that city. Perhaps the same deal with Diane Arbus and Weegee. Why couldn't these women take old men's intentions seriously? That's usually a survival instinct!

    The canon of photographic art is flawed in many respects and taken too seriously by some. It's why I laud Lewis Baltz for his comment that "there is no history of photography". Lartigue is another head scratcher and eye roller for me. Yet, mention that to a photography student, who probably has to study these anomalies... or at least, with reverence for the canon, feels they have to.

    A few years ago I went to the Ellesmere Port National Waterways Museum (reluctantly) which had a photography exhibit of early work, by photographers nobody has heard of. I'm not one for nostalgia - be it early photographic processes or survey work and certainly not canals - but some of the images were artistically ahead of their time and evocative in a way we would understand today. I would have asked about them, but the place being a tribute to the condom ridden gutters of the Industrial Revololution (canals), I wanted to get away from all the weird old men as soon as I could. Survival instinct took over.

    But seriously, I think there was probably an Atget in every city in the world producing imagery of equal (substantiated) interest. It just happens that the Stieglitz in crowd never visited them.

    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    I would suggest that Atget is the Van Gogh of photography.
    This week, that title belongs to Vivian Maier.
    Last edited by batwister; 02-12-2013 at 02:21 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #24
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    i enjoy atget's work a lot. both because of the technical mastery he must have had to deal with his materials
    ( ortho-type emulsions are not the easiest to deal with ... ) and i really enjoy looking at what places used to be like.
    atget was commissioned by the archives to record the city, its monuments, street vendors &c so when the city was "urban renewal'ized"
    so there would be some sort of visual record of what was there. he was using photography for its best use... to document.
    i am a little bias, seeing i have a background in the built environment and portrait making and often get commissioned to do exactly what he did.
    i think it was great that bernice abbott helped him as she did. he started off poor, barely eeked out a living and before she found all his glass plates in a dumpster
    he would have ended up as a complete unknown ( except in archive's circles ) ... and now we know of him ...
    Putting it this way (and putting very well I might add) I certainly respect the work. But that's about it.
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  5. #25
    cliveh's Avatar
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    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  6. #26

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    His cataloging of street shots was his source of income. He odd style was deliberate - he knew what he
    was doing. Even his camera and film were virtually obsolete relative to the era. Nothing naive there. Abbot might have helped invent certain myths about him being an old anchorite, but she never got into his head. I don't think anyone has, although certain of his compositonal strategies can be dissected.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diapositivo View Post
    Many of his pictures seem to have been taken at a time when human presence had to be "posed" to be there. Any kind of road traffic would have come out easily blurred. That's a possible reason, but probably not the only one.

    I understand very much his approach, and I feel him very near to my own way of seeing things. When you begin taking photographs of roads, buildings, the moment comes when "human presence" becomes like a distracting nuisance. You want the building to talk. It's as if those buildings had a story to tell, or actually many stories of the countless people who walked there, through maybe centuries, each of them with his own troubles in life, or joyous moments maybe.

    If buildings could talk, they would tell us a lot of human stories. You don't need the human presence, because that would limit the human presence to that person, or that couple passing there at the moment.

    It's the building the talking presence. Old towns with centuries-old streets, the perspective and appearance of which has basically not changed in centuries, raise on me a definite fascination. That's why I love Rome so much. It's not only the monuments. It's that you look a foreshortening and you imagine the countless people for whom that foreshortening was the usual walk to workplace, or the workplace itself. And how many thoughts might have accompanied those human presence there, love, fear, joy associated to that place. The parvis of a church, which is a parvis for me, was "workplace" and day companion for countless beggars of all epochs. It's you who put the beggar there, or the young couple who discussed marriage on those steps. The parvis is the subject, the life which flowed over it is the arrière-pensée raised by it.

    The building known as Pointe Trigano, a very narrow building which is the subject of some pictures by Atget, is the building where André Chénier lived when he was arrested during the Terror. Besides telling us this particular story, obviously other unknown stories could be told by this pre-revolutionary building. Precisely the absence of people make our mind wonder about all the people that have lived there or in the vicinity and for whom that building was a familiar feature.

    Empty outdoor restaurant tables invariably reminds to me the eternal flow of conversation those tables heard, and all those they are going to hear.

    Pointe Trigano below
    This is how I 'read' Atget and his work. When I am photographing somewhere with a long historical record I inevitably think of what the place was witness to.

  8. #28

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    Philippe Grunchec

    "The fundamental problem any artist faces in regard to craft is that it must be largely ignored" Richard Benson.

    http://philippe.grunchec-photographe.over-blog.com/

  9. #29

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    Without Abbott Atget would be unknown today. Atget has been the photographers photographer since Walker Evans promoted his work to those he mentored. It was the critical promotion by Szarkowski that brought the work to a wider audience.

    What a long workman like effort to record a city in transition. He followed Charles Marville and others who were more careful workers. His obsession, production, quirky images plus his obscurity fuels the interest. He mostly approached photography on his terms which is part of his appeal.

    I agree with the below quote and the posters comments. Atget's seems an enigma.

    Eugene Atget ......is rather an example of a quiet genius producing a sublime body of work that could have very easily escaped the notice of the art-world.
    The images I respond to are the unintended surreal accidents and the sense of transition.

    I don't have a great city to photograph living in Oklahoma but I am mindful of Atget's techniques and let myself be influenced by his artless recording of place.
    Last edited by Richard Jepsen; 02-19-2013 at 09:20 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    RJ

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    Lartigue is another head scratcher and eye roller for me.
    This is funny because I don't think Lartigue ever fancied himself as a "photographer" but as a hobbyist taking pictures of his family and unconciously his world. This is not to say that he didn't take some very good photographs. It also helped that he was friends with the Lumiere brothers who allowed him to use some of their new films.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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