I consider myself a flâneur. I thrive in the city. I like street photography.
Eugène Atget is noted for his photographs that document the architecture and street scenes of Paris from 1897 to 1927. There are many references that describe Atget as a flâneur - an urban explorer and connoisseur of the street. The French author Baudelaire saw the flâneur as having an important role in portraying the city. He wrote, “it is an immense joy to set up house in the heart of the multitude, amid the ebb and flow… to be away from home, yet to feel oneself everywhere at home: to see the world”.
Atget’s photos see the city as it is. He’s not trying to be abstract nor capture a scene simply for its graphic nature. He’s not up close and in your face. Atget, the observer, doesn’t want to be noticed, a characteristic of the flâneur.
I choose Atget for this project because he worked with a
variety of subjects: architecture, street scenes, cars, bars, markets,
storefronts, churches, and gardens. The Oxford University Press says
that Atget has a tendency towards personal autonomy and free expression
-- a description that I’d use for myself.