Zach Takes It Back: Eugéne Atget

Since I began studying photography and inspecting the works of iconic photographers, I have been inspired by those whose work reveals certain intentions toward a more personal and creative relationship with the world around them. The places photographed by these photographers seem to have equal importance to that of the people they chose to include in their photography as well. Eugéne Atget is one of these photographers. 

For Atget, the dawn’s light on the streets of Paris, devoid of human activity was as equally striking as his photographs of street vendors, ragpickers and prostitutes. Atget's dedication to re-photograph places and things earlier or later in the day to find just the right light is a reason I admire his life's work. 

The photographs he took of the French countryside juxtaposed to the thousands of photographs he took of "Old Paris" can be seen as not only a homage to the culture and tradition of France, but also the ever changing landscape of Paris at the turn of the 20thcentury. Atget focused his entire photographic career on this subject matter, and in turn his photography was the creation of a world he immersed himself in fortunately allowing others to discover as well. 

Atget had a calling to photograph. He was not apart of a circle of artists nor an artistic movement. He was simply a disciplined artist under the guise of a commercial photographer. Almost daily he woke before the sunrise traversing Paris with heavy equipment to take a photograph of a building he had all ready taken dozens of times before. Atget chose these parts of the city and countryside according to what he deemed as containing some sort of truth. Nature as well as the world altered by man's touch was treated by Atget with dedication and sincere understanding of the inherent beauty within both.

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