Gardens

Eugène Atget ‘Spring’, by sculptor François Barois, jardin des Tuileries, 1st arrondissement 1907, albumen photograph © Musée Carnavalet, Paris/Roger-Viollet/TopFoto

Nature was an important theme in Atget’s work and one of his earliest subjects. He began photographing trees and plants in the 1880s and frequently photographed gardens. He was more interested in the domesticated than the wild. At the Luxembourg and Tuileries gardens he was as likely to compose genre scenes with children attending the puppet theatre, as he was to make views with vases and statues.

In 1914 he became interested in parc Delessert at Passy, a veritable oasis of nature within an urban centre. Marked for destruction, the garden was immortalised by Atget in images composed with a refined sensibility for light. The images extend beyond the documentary to make a formal statement on this specific place.