Eugene Atget: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (In Focus) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2000/8/10
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Eugène Atget (1857-1927) spent nearly thirty years photographing details of often-inconspicuous buildings, side streets, cul-de-sacs, and public sculptures in his beloved Paris. Yet before his death, he was practically unknown outside of that city. His genius was first recognized about 1924 by two young Americans living and working in Paris, Man Ray and his studio assistant, Berenice Abbott, who recognized the elements of contradiction, ambivalence, and ambiguity in Atget's images of Parisian architecture, streets, and parks.
Presented in this volume are more than fifty of the Getty Museum's two hundred ninety-five pictures by Atget, with commentary on each image by Gordon Baldwin, associate curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. In Focus: Eugène Atget also contains a chronological overview of his life and an edited transcript of a colloquium on his career, with participants Baldwin; David Featherstone, independent editor and curator; photographer Robbert Flick, professor of art at the University of Southern California; independent scholar David Harris; Weston Naef, curator of photographs, Getty Museum; Françoise Reynaud, curator of photographs at the Musée Carnavalet, Paris; and Michael S. Roth, associate director of the Getty Research Institute. This volume of the In Focus series is published to coincide with an exhibit of Atget's images from June 20 through October 18, 2000, at the Getty Museum.
Born in 1857 in Bordeaux, Eugène Atget was the son of a carriage maker, but was soon orphaned and went to live with an uncle. He studied at the Conservatory of the French National Theatre in Paris, and after a number of years working as an actor, he turned to photography at the age of forty-two. He rapidly became absorbed in a documentary project which, over the last thirty years of his life, resulted in more than ten thousand glass-plate negatives of turn-of-the-century Paris and its rural environs. Atget's photographs are now considered early masterpieces of photographic realism. He died in 1927 at the age of seventy in Paris.
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Atget's images are impressive, varied, often thoughtful or clever, and sometimes stunningly beautiful, especially considering the limitations of the plates of the time. One can imagine the old man lugging his heavy camera and glass plates through Paris in the pre-dawn mist.
The accompanying essay was also enlightening.
Unraveling the mystery of Eugène Atget's life and work is easier said than done. Now considered to be one of history's most important photographers, Atget was relatively unknown during his lifetime. Posthumously famous for his photographs, Atget in fact made only a humble living selling his prints to architects, artists, and institutions.
Atget wrote in 1920, "I may say that I have in my possession all of Old Paris." His systematic method of photographing Paris street by street is spellbinding, and the result is a detailed catalogue of 19th century Paris. The result of Eugène Atget's life's work is gathered here in a heartbreakingly beautiful book for lovers of Paris, architecture, and photography.
This small but powerful book is one of many in the Phaidon 55 series. The small size is great for carrying around, and even though the pictures are smaller then those in most photography books, they still hold true to the original prints. There is a short introduction and history of the photographer at the beginning. Each picture is accompanied by a brief description and insight into the photograph. Even though the size is smaller then most photography books, the images are still great quality, and for the price you can't go wrong.