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101 Quick and Easy Ideas Taken from the Master Photographers of the Twentieth Century by Matthew Bamberg

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Chapter 4. Eugène Atget (1857–1927)

Here’s a French photographer who never shot the Eiffel Tower, even as it was being built. Eugène Atget caught Paris as if it were from an earlier era. He didn’t look for buildings that were being constructed (as the Eiffel Tower was), but instead, buildings that were to be demolished. He photographed the city in every which way, from life in the cafés and parks to scenes from business and commerce. Atget sold his photographs to painters, who then went on to re-create the scenes in paintings.

His photographs of Paris streets and parks were shadowy, often dark scenes that led to spots of blown highlights somewhere in the frame. In many of his photographs, the streets and stairs slope up into the frame, as if the ...

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