Aisthesis (May 2016)

Benjamin, Desnos et la place d’Atget dans l'histoire de la photographie

  • Ricardo Ibarlucía

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 9, no. 1
pp. 135 – 151


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This paper confronts the interpretations of Eugène Atget’s photography given by Robert Desnos and Walter Benjamin. In the first part, it discusses Atget’s reception among the surrealists, particularly his relationship with Man Ray and the publication of some of his views from Paris in Littérature and La Révolution surréaliste. The second part is focused on the paragraphs that Benjamin has devoted to Atget in “Short history of photography” (1931) and "The work of art in the age of its technological reproductibility” (1935-1939). Finally, it introduces, establishes and comments two texts by Desnos to highlight his idea of a history of photography, the place he attributes to Atget in it, and the presence of topical and figures of fundamental significance for Benjamin’s own perspective.