Atget So Somber
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.
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.
IMHO, the Paris Atget photographed was dying. Atget knew that and his sadness shows through in his art.
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.
Last edited by dim; 10-26-2007 at 03:29 AM. Click to view previous post history.
This benefit of seeing...can come only if you pause a while, extricate yourself from the maddening mob of quick impressions ceaselessly battering our lives, and look thoughtfully at a quiet image...the viewer must be willing to pause, to look again, to meditate. - Dorothea Lange
I just bought the book "Atget:the pioneer" by recommendation of Black Dog here: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum56/43246-last-summer-over-any-good-books-2.html
And I really find it a good introduction to his work, compared with the impact it has had on others side by side.
I really like the quality of the images in the book as well.
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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.
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.
Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand
he made a lot of his photographs very early in the morning ...
Originally Posted by Harry Hollis
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
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
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?