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When I first began photographing in the 1970’s, my photographic ideal was defined by National Geographic, but when I took a class in the Art department at the small college I was attending, I was exposed to other kinds of photographs.  The photographer that most mystified me then was Atget.  The pictures I saw from him were sometimes cracked and peeling, and parts of the images were badly out of focus.  Atget Saint CloudThe photographs, however, are full of moods and memories.  Atget worked for about 30 years, and shot somewhere around 8,500 negatives, all glass plates, and all shot with a large camera on a tripod.  He owned only three film holders, which allowed him to make only 6 exposures per day.  Often he worked with early morning light, full of mists and flare.  Over the past 30 years, there have been many new books of his work, including a wonderful volume by Szarkowski now out of print and heading to the collectible department. Unlike many other photographers who seem to have a handful of compelling images but weaken the more one looks, every new book, every new picture adds a bit more to my understanding of his work.

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