Eugène Atget (French, 1857-1927), Paris Alleyway, ca. 1915. Gelatin Silver Print, 8 ¾ x 7 13/16 in. Gift of D. Frederick Baker from the Baker/Pisano Collection, 2012.1.35
Atget’s tender focus on a forgotten and seemingly empty alleyway lures our attention with its suggestive absences. The shadowed in-between space of the alleyway is neither private property nor the policed public space of the thoroughfare or square. Its sheltering openness invites loitering and cruising and allows desires and fantasies that cannot find residence elsewhere a place in which to develop.