Masters of Photography - Eugéne Atget

submitted by pmvs on 08/25/14 1

Photography by Eugéne Atget Atgets portrait, 1927 by Berenice Abbott ------------------------------- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eug%C3%A... Eugène Atget (1857 1927) was a French photographer noted for his photographs documenting the architecture and street scenes of Paris. Born outside the French city of Bordeaux, he was orphaned at seven and raised by his uncle. In the 1870s, Atget briefly became a sailor and cabin boy on liners in the Transatlantic. After shipping on several voyages, Atget became an actor, more specifically, a bit player, for a second-rate repertory company, but without much success. Atget finally settled in Paris in the 1890s, he saw photography as a source of income, selling his photographs to artists in the nearby town of Montparnasse. He advertised his photographs as "documents for artists." It was common practice at the time for painters to paint scenes from photographs. By 1899, he had moved to Montparnasse, where he lived and earned a modest income until his death in 1927. Distinguishing characteristics of Atget's photography include a wispy, drawn-out sense of light due to his long exposures, a fairly wide view that suggested space and ambiance more than surface detail, and an intentionally limited range of scenes avoiding the bustling modern Paris that was often around the corner from the nostalgia-steeped nooks he preferred. The emptiness of most of his streets and the sometimes blurred figures in those with people are partly due to his already antiquated technique, including extended exposure times which required that many of his images be made in the early morning hours before pedestrians and traffic appeared. Atget's photographs attracted the attention of well-known painters such as Man Ray, Andre Derain, Henri Matisse and Picasso in the 1920's. Berenice Abbott was the key that unlocked Atget's Paris for the rest of the world. She got to know him in the 1920s, when she was an assistant to Atget's Montparnasse neighbor Man Ray. She attempted to help Atget achieve greater recognition during his lifetime by sending friends to purchase his work and by making a celebrity-style photographic portrait of him. After Atget's death in 1927, she acquired a large part of his archive and exhibited, printed and wrote about his work, as well as assembled a substantial archive of writings about his portfolio by herself and others. The Museum of Modern Art purchased Abbott's collection of Atget's work in 1968, and now has some 5,000 of his prints and negatives in its possession. Abbott wrote of Atget: "He was an urbanist historian, a Balzac of the camera, from whose work we can weave a large tapestry of French civilization." He was said to be short-tempered and eccentric and in his 50s stopped eating anything except bread, milk and sugar. Atget and his wife, Valentine Delafosse Compagnon, a former actress, several years his senior, were together until her death just one year before his own. www.iphf.org/Hall_Of_Fame/Inducties_Bios/Eugene_Atget_Bio.html www.geh.org/fm/atget/htmlsrc/ www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/a... bibliotheque-numerique.inha.fr... www.masters-of-photography.com... photography-now.net/eugene_atg... www.luminous-lint.com/app/phot... www.artnet.com/artist/553643/e... phomul.canalblog.com/archives/... www.aloj.us.es/galba/MONOGRAFI... --------------------- www.iphf.org/Hall_Of_Fame/Indu... query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage... www.vam.ac.uk/collections/phot... www.profotos.com/education/ref... museum.icp.org/museum/exhibiti..

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