Versailles, femme et soldat, maison close, Mai 1921

by Atget, Eugene (French, 1856-1927)
Categorized in Photograph

Atget began his photography career in 1898. In this early age of photography, it is doubtful that Atget received any formal training. Even so, many consider his intimate and expressive portrayal of his subjects to be the beginning of true photographic art. Today his works can be seen at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Over the past thirty years, the museum has held several retrospectives of his work. He liked photographing working people in the streets in the old parts of Paris. Atget kept meticulous records of his works on this subject. Amazingly, he was able to produce a prolific number of works without the aid of modern equipment. Working with only a wooden tripod, a few plate holders, an 18 X 24 cm bellows camera and rectilinear lenses, Atget managed to produce more than 10,000 photographs of the historic district of Paris. The artist, Man Ray, was Atget?s neighbor, and was responsible for publishing a few of Atget?s photographs in the magazine La Revolution Surrealiste. This allowed the Surrealists to see and appreciate his work. Their admiration probably saved his works from total obscurity. A student of Man Ray?s, Berenice Abbott, also admired Atget?s photographs and became his assistant. She acquired Atget?s photographs upon his death in 1927, and is responsible for preserving them. She is the subject of this photograph by Atget.

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