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on 10 January 2012
 While I have always enjoyed street photography, it was only recently that I was exposed to some of Eugene Atget's work.
Between the years 1897 and 1927, Atget documented a city where fast moving changes were happening. He not only documented the progress in technology with his photographs of vehicles, but also the flesh of the city where buildings were being demolished or redeveloped. This type of photography, or typology, was seemingly ignored until the famous surrealist artist Man Ray started to buy Atget's work, sparking an interest amongst the avant garde in Paris. It was Atget's ability to capture everyday objects in detail and ou t of context that really inspired surrealist artists.

The publishers have chosen to lay out Atget's work within certain themes. These include photographs of traders and inhabitants of shanty towns to the parks and castles surrounding Paris at the turn of the 20th century.

Each section has it's photographs arranged differently with varying sizes of photographs on each page. Whilst some of the photographs are fairly small, the reproduction of each photograph is excellent with lots of detail.

There is also an excellent introduction to Eugene Atget, a brief look at his life and works, in three languages, French German and English.

This book is part of a series of publications to celebrate the 25th anniversary of it's publisher Taschen.
The book is a good size measuring 29.8 x 24.7 cm and is well bound. It looks even better without the dust jacket too.

However, while the photographs are well reproduced in this book, showing good detail and contrast, the paper these are printed on are flimsy and lightweight. Given the relatively cheap price of this book, I feel that this can be overlooked.

This is a well made book, and despite the cheap paper, is well printed and bound. If you are interested in Atget's work then this is an excellent introduction to his more famous photographs.
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This is one of two books that examine Atget's Paris. Both are published by Taschen and share a common editor. However they are not identical and this (from the Icons series) is by far the smaller of the two and with the least pages. The other, simply entitled 'Paris' from their 25th Anniversary series, is more than twice the page size and has about 20% more pages.

Atget's Paris was largely that of the Victorian city of the 'Belle Epoque' of the late 1800's much enjoyed by the likes of Degas, Cezanne, Toulouse-Lautrec and which was familiar to Van Gogh amongst others. It was the gay city before the motor vehicle, electric street lighting and the telephone. He continued working within the city until his death in 1927. It is not apparent whether Atget ever participated in the 'gayer' side of Paris life and he apparently did not photograph it. He did however, at different stages of his life, concentrate on its architecture and statuary, its shops and interiors and its street life. When motor racing and aviation later became realities, he photographed those too with the same sense of curiosity and it is from amongst those images that his most iconic derived.

Following the building of the Metro and of sewers in some parts of the city (some did not have them for years after his death in the 20's), many of the streets and buildings he knew would have been destroyed and replaced. In his final years, the city would have been a very different one than that he knew best. Atget was largely unknown to the public until his archive was discovered decades after his death and shortly afterwards numbers of his images were exhibited. Interest in his work grew, thus this small flurry of books and there are many more from other publishers. The images in both Atget books are, in the major part, of the long-lost parts of a city, not only the buildings but the lifestyles of some portions at the lower end of Parisian society which no longer exist. The city and its populace may have changed, and these books record what once existed but is no more.

A small, inexpensive book which is worth buying firstly for its curiosity value, secondly as a record of a city as it once existed and, by no means last, for the excellence of its varied imagery despite the use of some very early camera equipment.
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on 5 September 2013
Berenice Abbott famously collected and at every opportunity promoted Atget. I am still on the fence but must confess that this book is a strong advocate and many images are really fine. A good sized book well printed at a bargain price it cannot fail to be good value. It's just that after seeing the images I feel no wiser as to the photographer. There is a vast amount of Paris here- I seek in vain for a person.
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on 17 December 2012
I was expecting a fairly normal sized handbook of photos, but was surprised by the large folio sized package of full size prints. The quality is remarkable considering the subjects were taken over 100 years ago. Although this is not the complete works of Atget (available elsewhere) it is a considerable selection of his output. A commentary in 3 languages (French, German, and English) by the Editor take up many pages which most will appreciate, includinng the information that these were taken mainly as aide for painters, but Man Ray considered him to be the first surrealist photographer, a role that he repudiated. Considering the price of this book (including free delivery) is no more than that for a paperback novel it is remarkable value.
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on 2 January 2016
Nice photography, well reproduced. A very nice volume for he coffee table.
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on 9 September 2014
Fabulous book and so cheap. Eugene Atget photographs are so evocative of the period and here they are beautifully reproduced. Buy this book now.
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on 5 September 2011
What a beautiful large hard cover book. A must for photography fans, lovers of Paris, modern history enthusiasts or people watchers, alike. The photos are beautiful, and so is the layout. And the price is unbelievable. I could not stop peeking at this book at every chance.
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on 6 May 2014
This book was fantastic value and quite large with very good quality reproductions. Atget is perhaps lesser known than some of the later photographers in Paris and it is clear that he used long exposures - some of his photos show 'ghosts'. Nevertheless his photos show what was possible using what is now very old technology.
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on 2 March 2015
It's an amazing book about a wonderful artist. I love Eugène's photos, they remind us of a past era, with little details such as old posters in dark alleys. It's a very nice document of old Paris too.
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on 7 December 2016
Stunning little book for those admirers of Atget's work, a true reflection of a Paris lost forever. Wonderful.
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