Finally managed to get my hands on Atget by John Szarkowski.
Eugène Atget is my favorite photographer, arguably because I came across this book many years ago either on the internet, or in a library or somewhere I could not take away a copy of my own. It had a profound influence on me, as indeed did Atget on such luminaries as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Berenice Abbott (who I believe took the picture above), Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander and others.
Photobookjournal.com describes it as follows:
I have a broad collection of photographic books that have had an image or two of Atget’s photographs and I really wanted to have a dedicated resource to read and study to further understand Atget’s way of looking at his environment. There are a number of alternative hardcover book options for Atgets photographs but to have access a paring of Atget’s photographs with the insights of Szarkowski and the beautifully printing and binding by MOMA in Italy was just too hard to resist.
The images are all well displayed in the book with a Atget photograph on the right and on the opposite spread the commentary about the photograph by Szarkowski.
So I have now traveled throught this book many times. At first I had hoped for a little more analysis of the structure of the photograph from Szarkowski and then I realized that he was helping to frame the context of the photograph as much as describing the photographs attributes.
The book sequences Atget photographs chronologically taking you on a historical journey through the development of Atget’s body of work. You come to understand that even Bernice Abbott, who became the champion of Atget’s photographs, did not get that close to the photographer himself.
So in conclusion this a book that I can really recommend.
The summary on Amazon.com reads:
An exploration of photography in 120 photographs.
In On Photographs, curator and writer David Campany presents an exploration of photography in 120 photographs. Proceeding not by chronology or genre or photographer, Campany’s eclectic selection unfolds according to its own logic. We see work by Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Eggleston, Helen Levitt, Garry Winogrand, Yves Louise Lawler, Andreas Gursky, and Rineke Dijkstra. There is fashion photography by William Klein, one of Vivian Maier’s contact sheets, and a carefully staged scene by Gregory Crewdson, as well as images culled from magazines and advertisements.
Each ofthe 120 photographs is accompanied by Campany’s lucid and incisive commentary, considering the history of that image and its creator, interpreting its content and meaning, and connecting and contextualizing it with visual culture. Image by image, we absorb and appreciate Campany’s complex yet playful take on photography and its history.
The title, On Photographs, alludes to Susan Sontag’s influential and groundbreaking On Photography. As an undergraduate, Campany met Sontag and questioned her assessment of photography without including specific photographs. Sontag suggested that someday Campany could write his own book on the subject, titled On Photographs. Now he has.
It’s a useful book with lots on information on the photographs and the photographers, many of whom I’d previously never heard of. It’s not a book I would try to read from beginning to end. Rather it’s something to pick up and browse through when you have a few minutes to spare.
Berenice Abbott (American, 1898-1991), Eugene Atget, 1927.
Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Zigrosser, 1968, 1968-162-38
Interesting article (From Paris to New York: The Story of Eugène Atget and Berenice Abbott) on the occasion of the publication of a new book by Kevin Moore: Old Paris and Changing New York: Photographs by Eugène Atget and Berenice Abbott (Yale University Press).
According to Yale University Press:
An insightful new look at two renowned photographers, their interconnected legacies, and the vital documents of urban transformation that they created
In this comprehensive study, Kevin Moore examines the relationship between Eugène Atget (1857–1927) and Berenice Abbott (1898–1991) and the nuances of their individual photographic projects. Abbott and Atget met in Man Ray’s Paris studio in the early 1920s. Atget, then in his sixties, was obsessively recording the streets, gardens, and courtyards of the 19th-century city—old Paris—as modernization transformed it. Abbott acquired much of Atget’s work after his death and was a tireless advocate for its value. She later relocated to New York and emulated Atget in her systematic documentation of that city, culminating in the publication of the project Changing New York.
This engaging publication discusses how, during the 1930s and 1940s, Abbott paid further tribute to Atget by publishing and exhibiting his work and by printing hundreds of images from his negatives, using the gelatin silver process. Through Abbott’s efforts, Atget became known to an audience of photographers and writers who found diverse inspiration in his photographs. Abbott herself is remembered as one of the most independent, determined, and respected photographers of the 20th century.
Kevin Moore is an independent curator and writer and is artistic director and curator of FotoFocus, Cincinnati. He is the author of Starburst: Color Photography in America 1970-1980 and Jacques Henri Lartigue: The Invention of an Artist.
According to the article:
Bonnie McCurry has shared many long-distance phone calls with her brother Steve without knowing when they’d next speak. She saw him grow up in the wake of their mother’s death, and she remembers things about their childhood he was too young to understand. More than once, as he was busy documenting life on the other side of the world, she worried he’d been killed in the field. Now, Bonnie McCurry helps tell the story of one of the world’s most influential photographers in their new book Steve McCurry: A Life in Pictures, out now by Laurence King.
With words by Bonnie, 350-plus pictures by Steve, and contributions from colleagues and friends, A Life in Pictures spans four decades of work behind the camera. The detailed chapters trace Steve’s journeys around the globe to locations where he’s covered conflict, disaster, and daily life. From war in Afghanistan and Kuwait to the fall of the Berlin Wall to the attacks of 9/11 in Manhattan, McCurry has immortalized some of the most significant events of our time, and Bonnie, now the President of the McCurry Foundation, was there every step of the way, even if they were separated by thousands of miles. This book is about human history, but it’s also about the ties that bind us together.
Hang Em High,” New York, 1968.Photograph by Garry Winogrand © The Estate of Garry Winogrand / Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery
Interesting article in the New Yorker about a new documentary: “All Things Are Photographable,” which traces “how the legendarily prolific photographer pulled his art form into modernity”.