Submission
Project info

On Thursday, May 28th, The New York Times published an article by Adam Nossiter, with accompanying pictures, linking photographs of a deserted Paris under lockdown with the emptiness in Atget's photographs. You can access it at: Atget’s Paris, 100 Years Later - The New York Times

An admirer of Atget's work, I have been aware that the vacancy revealed in my twilight photographs also bears a certain resemblance to the deserted streets we see every day in news photographs of New York and other cities. As Adam Nossiter writes in the Times, "Compare [Atget's work] with images from today. The occasional masked figures are incidental to the landscape....The urban landscape asserts its presence, independent of people."

Nossiter's observation reminded me that I have described my work in similar terms, saying that I portray the city as an abandoned stage set, freed of human "actors" — except perhaps for one or two ghosted figures — and dreaming its own dreams. And while I myself would not presume to rank my work with Atget's, I think I'm permitted to note that Arthur C. Danto did make such a comparison in "The city at night," his introduction to my monograph Night/Shift (Monacelli, 2009).

Danto wrote: "Because of their characteristic emptiness, these sites remind me of the Paris of Atget. Atget recorded Paris in the early morning, before anyone was about. We feel his presence in the surrounding emptiness he has kept for the generations....Saville is his New York counterpart, the Atget of vanishing New York, prowling her city at the other end of the day, picking up pieces of the past in the present, just before it is swallowed by shadows."