The famous Eugene Atget is entirely the invention of Berenice Abbott one of the well-to-do American women that flocked to Paris in the 1920's. She collected, publicised, and promoted Atget's work relentlessly with the end result that Atget became lauded in the famous histories of photography written by Newhall, Gernsheim, and others. In all the years since it has been unheard of to critique Atget except as one of the all-time greats.

I reckon the real Eugene Atget was a photographer of limited ability, limited technique, limited subject matter, and limited imagination and he embraced these limitations to pursue his real agenda. His aim was the consistent, exhaustive, sensitive, dispassionate, even artless recording of what was around him; the changing face of Paris and its people.

Eugene Atget was not a colossus of early 20th century photography but 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. I venture to think there are several people in APUG a bit like that today.