“cour 7 rue de Valencia“, 1922, Eugene Atget, courtesy of MOMA
Always interesting in how one thing leads to another. So how does this all start, eh?
Recently my work has been likened to the photographs of Walker Evans and a use of space similar to Eugene Atget. Which is very interesting, in as Atget is usually thought of as proceeding the work of Walker Evans. And now I understand that this direct way of photographing (seeing) was subsequently a part of the photographic way of seeing as that of Robert Frank and then Gary Winogrand, but perhaps not with the same way of using space.
I had a broad collection of books that may have had an image or two of Atget, but now I really wanted to have a dedicated resource to read and study to further understand Atget’s way of looking at something.
Thus I recently purchased a “used” copy of the 2001 MOMA book by John Szarkowski titled Atget. I say “used” because it was off the used sales page of AbeBooks, but essentially the book had never been opened or read in its entirety (a bit of book binding glue holding together the very top edge of the last eight pages, which would not be intact if someone had at least read the book once). So thank you for the referral to Abebooks by the nice folks at the Joesph Bellows Gallery and I can recommend AbeBooks for at least having a good first experience.
So I have walked through the photographs twice in this book and just completed my first read of Szarkowski. At first I had hoped for a little more analysis or deconstruction of the photograph by Szarkowski, but now realize that Szarkowski was helping to frame the external context of the photographs as much as describing the photographs attributes.
I sense that after I go through my Walker Evans book, that I will be coming back to this one again. And I will not be writing notes in the margins of my photobook this time either ;- )
Best regards, Douglas