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1 Image 1 Minute

Holly Myers, Calvin Phelps and Kelly Thompson
Organized by Micol Hebron
"Untitled," photographer unknown, c. 1930s.

Untitled, photographer unknown, c. 1930s.

I think of this photograph as my own private Eugene Atget. A friend points out: “But there are people in it. There are no people in Atget.” Well, there are, in fact–though I had to double check. You don’t remember them in Atget because Atget didn’t care about them. They were motes of dust across his grander fascination with empty carriages and the death of cities and the density that buildings create in the air.

But look here: a similar attention to architecture. The boxes, the fish. A similar indifference to faces. I am fascinated especially by these men’s feet, all bare on what must have been a moist and slimy deck. And by the fact that there was a smell here, probably strong. And by the tipping life of the water behind.

I purchased my Atget for the bargain price of $40, from the great, sad, beautiful sea that is the vernacular photo market. It hangs in my writing room, in a cherry wood frame, alongside a dozen other stray shavings of unofficial history.

Holly Myers, Writer

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