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Early 20th-Century Photos of the Real Paris

While the massive Cindy Sherman retrospective might be getting all the buzz, the work of another incredibly talented photographer, Eugène Atget, is currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art as well. Unlike Sherman, Atget rarely captured images of people in his work, which he humbly intended for other artists to use as source material. Instead, he spent his 30-year career snapping photos in the streets of Paris, focusing his lens on the architectural details of building facades, carefully-composed window displays, and abandoned parks.

Looking at these romantic images, made even dreamier thanks to his use of long exposures, you get the sense that the French photographer would have enjoyed commiserating over un café with Owen Wilson’s character in Midnight in Paris. Check out Atget’s work in person at the MoMA through April 9th; click through to preview a selection of the images on display in our slideshow, spotted thanks to PDN.


Eugène Atget, Luxembourg, 1923-1925. Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Abbott-Levy Collection. Partial gift of Shirley C. Burden.