Paris: Eugene Atget


The Book Loft is a giant discount book store in Columbus.  It’s in an old building with 32 tiny rooms rooms connected via a maze of tiny, seemingly random hallways and doorways.  The photography section is tucked away in a remote corner of the second floor (this store has a lot of remote corners), and it’s contents are often a source of inspiration.

I was initially drawn to this book by the ‘old world’ feel to the photos.  I’ve never been to Paris, but I doubt it looks anything like this today.  After paging through this book, I’d be more curious to find out.  Apparently Atget started taking photos simply to document the architecture and art of city before it was lost to progress, but many of the shots are really well crafted, instead of serving simply as historic documentation.  The book contains many great photographs which capture the proverbial time and place which no longer exist, and Atget’s compositions often make great use of the many narrow alleys, tunnels, courtyards, sculptures, and citizens of the era.  Most of the work is from a period from the 1890s into the first couple decades of the 1900s.  This isn’t work that you will be able to duplicate or imitate, as the equipment, processes, and subject matter are mostly figments of history, but it made me want to go out and shoot… and that’s the bottom line of any review for me.

This was a great find, especially for $14.99 ;-)


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