At NYPL, Eugene Atget Shows Paris at its Least Quaint

THE DAILY PIC: The French photographer captures his city, warts and all.


THE DAILY PIC (#1387): This image by Eugene Atget is in the great show called “Public Eye: 175 Years of Sharing Photography,” at the New York Public Library. Its caption is “Fort-Monjol, Prostitute Looking for Clients, April 19th, 1921”, and I like the way it undermines our image of Atget as a tidy documenter of the quainter side of Paris. He was interested in all of its notable edifices, human or built, and in preserving them on film. (I wonder if in 1921 he felt that this particular kind of Parisian structure was about to disappear?)

The photo also seems to hint that the edge the Surrealists found in Atget wasn’t purely their imposition: He could go un-quaint all on his own.

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