Old Paris, an exhibition of over 200 rare and original works by photographer Eugene Atget (1857-1927), is currently on display for the first time in Australia at The Art Gallery of NSW.
The photographs show scenes of everyday life in Paris and reveal areas of the city that were untouched by Baron Haussmann’s 19th century modernisation program.
Atget did not train as a photographer, only turning to it to try to earn a living after having no success as an actor. He was considered a commercial photographer and sold what he called ‘documents for artists’, such as photographs of landscapes, close-up shots and genre scenes which painters could use for reference.
The exhibition gives you a real feeling for Atget’s life and times. Many of the photos show street scenes, old mansions and historic buildings, churches, fountains, the Seine with many of its bridges, trades people and shop facades. Atget used an 18×24 cm wooden bellows camera supported on a tripod and used glass plates which allowed him to capture every detail with precision.
The Art Gallery of NSW is the only Australian venue for the exhibition which runs from 24 August to 4 November 2012 and is well worth a visit. Sandra T.
Non Paris PHOTO: John Pond ©