Documents for Atget

The work in this series began with a couple of photos taken in or near the Vieux Carre (Old Square) in New Orleans, LA in late 2017. I played with printing them as transfers on frayed pieces of muslin that were attached to boards. After transferring the images, I applied layers of ink washes followed by a coat of wax. Then I put them on the mantle and studied them. They looked old, from another time, as if they had just emerged from a forgotten attic or a musty trunk. And they reminded me of Atget, his store fronts from the early 1900s in Vieux Paris.

 

Eugene Atget (1857-1927) photographed in and around Paris from roughly 1890 until his death in 1927. He began by making images for other artists that they could use for material for their own work. His shingle stated that he made “Documents pour Artistes.” Around 1900 he began a project that he would work on for the rest of his life – documenting old Paris as it was being razed for a more modern city.

 

Since my two early images, I’ve been looking for Atget all over New Orleans, a city with vestiges of the old French culture of Atget’s time situated next door to our much less refined culture of today. I have searched for his subject matter, his compositions and tried to blend them with mine. The photographs that developed from this treasure hunt are my Documents for Atget.