23 January 2010

No Marker for Atget?

So I ask myself 'Paris, with a marker on every other old building... 'Mazarin's mistress farted here' or 'Stendhal's cousin caught the clap there' ... so why is there no marker at 17bis rue Campagne Primier? This was the home of Eugene Atget, the photographer of Paris par excellence! Successor to Baldus and Marville in the documentation of the great physical and social change going on in Paris, its destruction and re-invention and predecessor to Doisneau and Cartier-Bresson. A genius and either the last romantic or the first modernist, depending on your disposition, yet there is nothing to mark the home that he had for decades, just up the street from Man Ray and Berenice Abbott, a few paces from the Passage d'Enfer - one of my favorite street names in Paris. On my last trip back I made pilgrimage to see his home, at least from the street, and to record as he might have done a Parisian doorway. This is the portal that he passed thru so many times, lugging his heavy pack of camera,  plates and tripod from Montparnasse to the 'Zones', from Raspail to the Parc de Saint-Cloud.
So again I ask, why no memorial to one of the greatest of photographers in the city of which he is the formost photographic memoirist?

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