Eugene Atget, Rue Daubenton, Un Coin de la rue Daubenton, 1910
Eugene Atget, Hotel de Luzignan, 8 Rue Elzevir, 1901
Eugene Atget, Escalier, 25 Rue des Blank Manteaux, 1903–04
“I can say that I posses all of Old Paris” – Eugène Atget, writing about his photographs.
Eugène Atget often rose early, alone with his large format camera to capture the city of Paris. He created what he referred to as “documents for artists.” The images had a variety of buyers including painters, sculptors, and cartoonists, who could use the photographic prints as reference tools for their stunning display of detail and atmosphere. Atget was a true documentarian. To view his images is to view Paris.
Atget maintained a modest demeanor during his lifetime by refusing to claim himself an artist, though today it is impossible to consider the history of photography without mentioning Atget’s name. Surrealist artist Man Ray was quick to claim that he discovered Atget, but it was through the efforts of American photographer Berenice Abbott, that Atget came to find his current celebrated place in photo history. She dedicated part of her career to the promotion of Atget’s photographs. In her words, “he had a subject…It was the City of Paris!”