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Empty streets in the capital of modernity :
b formation of _lieux de mmoire_ in parisian street photography from daguerre to atget
h [electronic resource] /
by Sabrina Hughes.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
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Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2010.
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ABSTRACT: This study proposes the existence of lieux de mmoire in the photographs of Eugene Atget (1857-1927). My framework is based on historian Pierre Nora's definition: a lieu de mmoire is an object or idea which has become a symbolic stand-in for a community's memorial heritage. I suggest that Atget's photographs of the streets of old Paris, in concert with an empty-street aesthetic function as lieux de mmoire for their primary audience, antiquarians and professional archivists who specialized in old Paris. According to Nora's structure, identification of a lieu de mmoire requires first the establishment of a historical tradition. In the first chapter, I characterize a particular mode of photography, what I term a preservation aesthetic. I examine photographs by Louis J.M. Daguerre, douard Baldus, Henri Le Secq, and Charles Marville, all produced between 1839 and 1868. I propose interpretations of and reasons for photographs showing vacant Parisian streets, even after technological advancement allowed for representation by other means. My second chapter is concerned with a disruption of the established tradition, Nora's second requirement for lieu de mmoire. The focus of this chapter is twofold: since I propose that it is the preservation aesthetic partnered with the subject matter of old Paris that forms a lieu de mmoire, considering alterations in both perception of the old city and in photographic practice are necessary. First, I discuss the nostalgic views of old Paris that manifested while Baron Haussmann was remaking Paris between 1853 and 1870. The latter half of the chapter is devoted to the events of 1870-71, the Prussian siege of Paris and the Paris Commune. I argue that barricade photographs from the Commune represent a significant change in photographic practice defined by working-class individuals who made up the Commune. Finally, I examine Atget's practice and work in context of both a medieval historicist revival in the early Third Republic of France and of a popular belief that architecture could be a literal and metaphoric container for nationalist memories. I conclude with a reconsideration of Atget's preservationist and modernist audiences to support my thesis that his photographs are lieux de mmoire.
Advisor: Elisabeth Fraser, Ph.D.
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
Empty Streets in the Capital of Modernity: Formation of Lieux de Mmoire in Parisian Street Photography From Daguerre to Atget b y Sabrina Lynn Hughes A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Art History College of The Arts University of South Florida Major Professor: Elisabeth Fraser Ph.D. Louis Marcus, M.F.A. Heather Vinson, M.A. Date of Approval: April 7, 2010 Keywords: Urbanism, Memory, Paris, Second Empire, Nineteenth Century Copyright 2010, Sabrina Lynn Hughes
Table of Contents List of Figures iii Abstract v Introduction 1 Identifying Lieux de M moire 9 Chapter One: The Inception of a Preservationist Aesthetic 14 Daguerre's First Photograph of Paris 16 The Invention of Instantaneous Photography 21 The Photographers of the Missions Hliographiques in Paris: douard Baldus and Henri Le Secq 24 Charles Marville's Photography during the Modernization of Paris 39 Preservation Aesthetic as Milieu de M moire 44 Chapter Two: Rupture in Communal Memory and Social Practice: Haussmannization, the Prussian Siege and the Paris Commune 46 Part I: Haussmann's Disruption of Everyday Life 49 Critics of the Form of Haussmann's Paris 54 Developing Connections between Empty Streets and Nostalgia 58 Part II: The Terrible Year, 1870-71: The Prussian Siege of Paris and the Commune 62 Agency of Subjects in Barricade Photographs 71 Chapter Three: Eugene Atget, Vieux Paris, and Lieux de M moire 76 Part I: Architecture as Containers of Knowledge and Memory 79 Architecture, Memory, and Nationalism for Morale Recovery 81 Revivification and Reification of Medieval Paris 85 The Self-Referentiality of Vieux Paris 93 Part II: Photographs as Containers of Knowledge and Memory 99 A Comparative Reading of the Space of the H tel de Sens 102 Old Paris as Milieu de Mmoire 109 The Preservation Aesthetic as Lieu de Mmoire 111 Part III: A New Perspective on Atget's Audiences 114 i
Conclusion: Limitations of Lieu de Mmoire as a Methodological Framework 125 Vieux Paris in Contradistinction to Lieu de Mmoire 128 Bibliography 137 ii
List of Figures Figure 1. Eugne Atget, Place Saint-Andr-des-Arts (1924). Bibliothque National de France, Paris. 4 Figure 2. Louis Jacques Mand Daguerre, Boulevard du Temple (1838). St adtmuseum, Munich. 17 Figure 3. Marc Antoine Gaudin, Funrailles du duc d'Orlans NotreDame de Paris (1842). Muse D'Orsay, Paris. 23 Figure 4. douard Baldus, Tour Saint-Jacq ues, Paris, Cleared of Surrounding Buildings and Debris (1852-53). Private collection, Paris. 29 Figure 5. Henri Le Secq, Tour Saint-Jacques (1851-1853). Bibliothque Historique de la Ville de Paris, Paris. 30 Figure 6. Henri Le Secq, Dmolitions de la place de l'Htel de Ville (1851-1853 ). Bibliothque Historique de la Ville de Paris, Paris. 35 Figure 7. Crafty, Caricature of a construction site (date unpublished). Muse de la Ville de Paris. 37 Figure 8. Charles Marville, Impasse des Bourdonnais (1865-1868). Bibliothque Historique de la Ville de Paris, Paris. 42 Figure 9. Charles Marville, Rue des Moulins (1865-1868). Bibliothque Historique de la Ville de Paris, Paris. 47 Figure 10. Anonymous, Rue Faubourg Saint Antoine (1871). Bibliothque Historique de la Ville de Paris, Paris. 64 Figure 11. Thibault, La Barricade de la rue Saint-Maur-Popincourt aprs l'attaque par les troupes du gnral Lamorici re, le lundi 26 juin 1848 (26 June 1848). Muse D'Orsay, Paris. 65 Figure 12. Anonymous, Preparing for the defence of Paris. Collection of Stephen Holder. 68 iii
Figure 13. Charles Negre, L'Acquaiuolo (1852). Collection of Andr Jammes. 73 Figure 14. Eugne Atget, H tel de Sens, Rue de Fauconnier (1899). Bibliothque National de France, Paris. 77 Figure 15. Charles M ryon, Little Tower on Rue de la Tixeranderie (1852). 88 Figure 16. Anonymous, Le Vieux Paris (1900) Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY. 89 Figure 17. Anonymous, Le Vieux Paris, Le chevet de Saint-Julien (1900) Bibliothque National de France, Paris. 92 Figure 18. Ch. F. Flower, H tel de Sens (1908). 105 Figure 19. Anonymous illustration of the H tel de Sens (1885). 106 Figure 20. Anonymous, L'htel de Sens avant sa restauration (1880). Collection of Yvan Christ. 107 Figure 21. Jacques-Andr Bouffard, untitled photograph from Nadja (We have our dinner served outside by the wine seller) (1928). 123 Figure 22. Eugne Atget, crivain Public, Rue de la Montagne-SainteGenevive ( 1899). Bibliothque National de France, Paris 129 Figure 23. Detail, crivain Public, Rue de la Montagne-Sainte-Genevive 131 iv
Empty Streets in the Capital of Modernity: Formation of Lieux de Mmoire in Parisian Street Photography From Daguerre to Atget Sabrina Lynn Hughes ABSTRACT This study proposes the existence of lieux de mmoire in the photographs of Eugene Atget (1857-1927). My framework is based on historian Pierre Nora's definition: a lieu de mmoire is an object or idea which has become a symbolic stand-in for a community's memorial heritage. I suggest that Atget's photographs of the streets of old Paris, in concert with an empty-street aesthetic function as lieux de mmoire for their primary audience, antiquarians and professional archivists who specialized in old Paris. According to Nora's structure, identification of a lieu de mmoire requires first the establishment of a historical tradition. In the first chapter, I characterize a particular mode of photography, what I term a preservation aesthetic. I examine photographs by Louis J.M. Daguerre, douard Baldus, Henri Le Secq, and Charles Marville, all produced between 18 39 and 1868. I propose interpretations of and reasons for photographs showing vacant Parisian streets, even after technological advancement allowed for representation by other means. My second chapter is concerned with a disruption of the established tradition, Nora's second requirement for lieu de mmoire The focus of this chapter is twofold: since I propose that it is the preservation aesthetic partnered with the subject matter of old Paris that forms a lieu de mmoire considering alterations in both perception of the old v
city and in photographic practice are necessary First, I discuss the nostalgic views of old Paris that manifested while Baron Haussmann was remaking Paris between 1853 and 1870. The latter half of the chapter is devoted to the events of 1870-71, the Prussian siege of Paris and the Paris Commune. I argue that barricade photographs from the Commune represent a significant change in photographic practice defined by working-class individuals who made up the Commune. Finally, I examine Atget's practice and work in context of both a medieval historicist revival in the early Third Republic of France and of a popular belief that architecture could be a literal and metaphoric container for nationalist memories. I conclude with a reconsideration of Atget's preservationist and modernist audiences to support my thesis that his photographs are lieux de mmoire vi
INTRODUCTION In 1920, just as photographer Eugne Atget's career was slowing down, he attempted to sell his archive to Paul L on then director of the Commission des Monuments Historiques. In a letter to L on, Atget confidently claimed "I can say that I possess all of old Paris ." 1 Relatively uncelebrated during his lifetime, Eugne Atget has become posthumously known as the photographer of Paris since his death in 1927. It is estimated that he produced more than 8,000 photographs of Paris and its environs during his 40-year career with work ranging in theme from royal ch teaux like Versailles and Saint Cloud to every aspect of old Parisian streets: architectural details, domestic interiors, street vendors, shanties, and parks. Atget sold his photographs to official entities of the French state as documents of life in Paris photographic representations of the city from the 1890s through the 1920s. There is no doubt that Atget's pictures functioned within the archival memory of Paris. The photographer's clients included amateur antiquarian groups, the city and national archives in addition to anyone concerned with preserving an image of the remaining medieval portions of the city after the irrevocable changes of the nineteenth century. Despite the reputation of Paris as the turn-of-the-century city of light and capital of modernity, the defining characteristic of Atget's street photography is its empty and abandoned appearance, as if Parisians had fled the city just prior to Atget's picture-taking. 1 My translation of the original French, Je puis dire que je possde tout le Vieux Paris. Molly Nesbit A tget's Seven Albums (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), 62. 1
For instance, a photograph like Place Saint-Andre-des-Arts (Figure 1) is representative of his street photographs. The picture is framed and angled up to show an entire block, with the dominating structure receding to hint at the neighborhood that lies behind the thoroughfare. This must be an indexical document that accurately records the morphology of the street before the camera, but this view displays a city abandoned, existing in a time that cannot be experienced. The physical fabric of the city is present, but without the active street life for which Paris was so famous. Atget's empty streets create an image of Paris hovering between reality and imagination. In this paper, I examine both Atget's choice of subject matter, old Paris, and his mode of representation as constructs rooted in a historical tradition that, by the early twentieth century, had become a lieu de mmoire or site of memory. I contend the aesthetic of the "empty street" photograph employed by Atget in conjunction with the subject matter of vaguely defined "old" Paris was a lieu de mmoire responding to and reproducing a conception of extant, ancient segments of the city as an urban imaginary. In this study, I construct a narrative of preservationist architectural photography, 2 originating 2 My conception of a preservationist is based on three sources. First, M. Christine Boyer defines a "preservation mentality" in La Mission H liographique : Architectural Photography, Collective Memory and the Patrimony of France, 1851" (in Picturing Place: Photography and the Geographical Imagination ed. Joan M. Schwartz and James R. Ryan [New York: I.B. Tauris, 2003]). The objective of those with a preservation mentality was to "inventory and preserve historic monuments of France under an enlightened directorship, with a body of restoration principles worked out in practice and a specially trained group of architects to implement the work." (29) While preservation may entail a certain amount of restoration, lest the preserved building look shabby or in a state of disrepair, the goals of preservationists came to differ from those of restoration architects like Eug ne Viollet-le-Duc, who wanted to add details that may have not been originally part of the structure to create an ideal representative of a period or style. Boyer's mid-century preservation mentality is conflated with the aims of Viollet-le-Duc, but by the time of the Third Republic, sensibilities had changed and fanciful embellishments had fallen out of favor. My second source is Anthony Sutcliffe's Autumn of Central Paris ( London: Edward Arnold, 1970), particularly the chapter "The Battle for Preservation, 18501949" (179-212). Sutcliffe's preservationist was an antiquarian or scholar who was against the widespread demolitions of the Second Empire. Victor Hugo and Charles Baudelaire are both named as supporting a "preservationist case." (184) During the Third Republic, societies dedicated to the preservation of ancient structures and monuments attempted to expand their constituency to the 2
with Daguerre and culminating with Atget, highlighting particularly determinative episodes that contributed to the formation of lieux de mmoire My theoretical framework for this analysis is Pierre Nora's foundational study of the formation of lieux de mmoire 3 Nora defines a lieu de mmoire as "any significant entity, whether material or non-material in nature, which by dint of human will or the work of time has become a symbolic element of the memorial heritage of any community." 4 It is anything pertaining to the cult of the dead, relating to the patrimony or administering the presence of the past in the present 5 that has become symbolic rather than an organic part of life, something recalling an event or feeling to those within the community who recognize the symbol and its layers of surrounding associations. 6 Lieux educated middle class. Historically, only individuals of leisure or those with vested professional interest were involved. This is a wider audience than the academics of Second Empire preservation societies, but it was still a concern only of the haute bourgeoisie (206-207). Finally, Molly Nesbit's description from Atget's Seven Albums of amateurs of vieux Paris who were among Atget's customers, "antiquarians who tended the large topographical files of the city library and the rich amateurs who tended their own." (62) Later in her study, she explains that "the best of them were little men of the state, convened in the Commission municipale de Vieux Paris and endowed with a budget [. .] They were actually producing history for [the state], giving the object of their devotion the suitable cast and color, the detail and the fog of a state ideology." (104-105). Building upon her argument, Nesbit finally characterizes the work of the Vieux Paris societies at the turn of the century as production of ideology. "Under the guise of objectivity, the Vieux Paris societies researched the classical aspect of the ancien r gim e, tracked down the town houses built by the urban nobility, and catalogued the contents of their churches. That is to say, they produced an ideology [. .] History and historical art were used as exempla, selected moral lessons for the perfection of the French nation. Far from being unencumbered facts, styles represented relative powers and entire cultures, aspirations and myths." (112). Therefore, my conception of a preservationist attempts to identify the concerns that were constant over the span of my study, from the 1850s until the 1920s. Broadly, for my purposes a preservationist is one who, as an amateur or professional, individually or as part of a society, lobbied to prevent the destruction of buildings that have aesthetic or historical significance in relation to the history of France and desiring, at the very least, there exist an image of such spaces for personal or institutional archives. 3 I will use this term interchangeably with "site of memory" in English translation. 4 Pierre Nora, Realms of Memory, Rethinking the French Past: Volume 1, Conflicts and Divisions (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992), xvii. 5 Pierre Nora, "Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mmoire, t rans. Marc Roudebush. Representations 26 (1989): 20. 6 I n Nora's eight volume anthology studying lieux de mmoire in French society, scholars analyze all manner of culture as sites of memory that were once part of lived experience, but have become symbolic: monuments and symbols like the Pantheon, the tricolor flag, Bastille day, Versailles, Joan of Arc; divisions between Franks and Gauls, Gaullists and Communists, the French and foreigners, Catholic and secular traditions, North and South, Paris and the provinces; geographical features such as 3
the forest, the region, the painter's landscape, Alsace; and even elements of daily life like physical movement through Paris, the French language, street names, gastronomy, the Tour de France, conversation, cafes, wine, and songs. 4 Figure 1. Place Saint-Andre-des-Arts Eugne Atget, 1924. Albumen print from glass negative, 17.9 x 22.5 cm. Bibliothque National de France, Paris.
I begin my line of inquiry with Atget because it is his practice that has generated a considerable body of scholarship, most of which dates from the 1980s, nearly a century after he began his career in Paris. 7 Stillness and vacancy on the streets are the qualities most often associated with Atget's oeuvre, but this generality does not characterize his entire body of work. 8 Though this openness is most often the entry point into discourse about Atget's photographs, there has not yet been a study interrogating why Atget reproduced this aesthetic so often in his urban photographs. To imply that Atget did not have the technical ability to portray city life and motion, as did contemporary 7 See Wilifried Wiegant, Eugne Atget, Paris (New York: te Neues Publishing Co., 1998); Gerry Badger, Eugne Atget (New York: Phaidon Press, Inc., 2001) and "Garden of Critical Delights: The Meaning of Atget" in Peter Turner and Gerry Badger, Photo Texts (London: Traveling Light, 1988); James Borcoman, Eugne Atget 1857-1927 (Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1984); Alain Buisine, Eugne Atget ou la mlancolie en photographie (Nimes: Editions Jacqueline Chambon, 1994); David Harris, Eugne Atget: Unknown Paris ( New York: The New Press, 2003), originally published as Eugne Atget: Itinraires Parisiens (Paris: ditions des Muses de la Ville de Paris, 1999); John Fraser, "Atget and the City," Studio International (Dec. 1971): 231-246; John Fuller, "Atget and Man Ray in the Context of Surrealism." Art Journal 36 no. 2 (1977): 130-38; Maria Morris Hambourg, "Atget, Precursor of Modern Documentary Photography," in David Featherstone, Observations: Essays on Documentary Photography ( Carmel, CA: The Friends of Photography, 1984); Max Kozloff, "Abandoned and Seductive: Atget's Streets," in The Privileged Eye: Essays on Photography ( Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1987); Rosalind Krauss, "Photography's Discursive Spaces: Landscape/View," Art Journ al 42 no. 4 (1982): 311-319; Jean-Claude Lemagny, Atget, the Pioneer ( New York: Prestel, 2000); Molly Nesbit, Atget's Seven Albums ( New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992) and "The Use of History" Art in America 74 no. 2 (1986): 72-83; Josiane Sartre, Atget: Paris in Detail (Paris: Flammarion, 2002); Abigail Solomon-Godeau, "Canon Fodder: Authoring Eugne Atget," in Photography at the Dock: Essays on Photographic History, Institutions, and Practices ( Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1991); Dan Hofstadter, "Paris Possessed," The New Criterion 4 no. 4 (Dec. 1985): 14-26; Clive Scott, Street Photography from Atget to CartierBresson (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2007); In Focus: Eugne Atget. P hotographs from t he J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000); H ans Christian Adam, Atget's Paris ( New York: Taschen, 2001); Jean Leroy, Atget: Magicien du vieux Paris en son poque, rev. ed. (Paris: Paris Audiovisuel/Pierre Jean Balbo, 1992); Laure Beaumont-Maillet, Atget Paris (Paris: Editions Hazan, 1992); Peter Barberie, Beth A. Price and Ken Sutherland, Looking at Atget (New Haven: Yale University Press, 20 05); Jeff Rosen "Atget's Populism," History of Photography 18 no. 1 (1994): 50-63; Roberta Hellman and Marvin Hoshino. "On the Rationalization of Eug ne Atget," Arts Magazine 56 no. 6 (1982): 88-91; B ibliothque Nationale de France, Atget: Une Rtrospective (Paris: Hazan, 2007). 8 Atget captured m any candid images of crowds and individuals going about their daily business, a taxonomy of the petit mtiers individual entrepreneurs who peddled their wares on the streets, prostitutes, and portraits of zoniers living on the edge of the city. 5
photographers, is reductionist and echoes the infamous explanation by Man Ray: Atget was simply a primitive photographer not fully in control of his medium. 9 Since his death, he has been a figure of interest to artists, beginning with the Surrealists and early modernist photographers like Berenice Abbott. In the early 1980s, Atget studies exploded as scholars attempted to secure his place in the history of modernist photography. The catalyst for reconsideration of Atget as more than simply a "maker of documents" was twofold: Maria Morris Hambourg's dissertation Eugne Atget, 1857-1927: The Structure of the Work" from 1981, 10 and the four-part exhibition "The Work of Atget" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York between 1981 and 1985 under the direction of John Szarkowski. 11 Hambourg's research focused on decoding Atget's own enigmatic personal archiving system and unearthing the largely unknown details of the photographer's life, sparking new interest in his practice and livelihood. Until the publication of Hambourg's meticulous study, scholars did not know the chronological or sequential order of his more than 8,000 photographs, when and for what reason new series were conceived, or if and how the photographs related to each other. 12 9 The exchange betwee n Man Ray and Atget has become a well-trodden narrative. In 1926, a year before his death, Man Ray approached the photographer to request a photograph for the cover of his magazine, La Rvolution Surraliste. Atget sold the print to Man Ray, but demanded that his name not be listed as the author of the image. He claimed that these were simply documents he made. After Atget's death in 1927, Man Ray characterized the photographer as a naf who did not know the value of his own work. Despite objections by Berenice Abbott who knew Atget intimately, his work and reputation were summarily co-opted by the Surrealists and Atget was unwittingly associated with the grou p for decades. 10 Maria Morris Hambourg, "Eugne Atget, 1857-1927: The Structure of the Work." Ph.D. Dissertation. Columbia University, 1980. 11 John Szarkowski and Maria Morris Hambourg, The Work of Atget 4 vols. (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1981-85). Curiously, the exhibitions were made up of pictures primarily from the rural and suburban areas surrounding Paris rather than those for which Atget was most well known, photographs from the metropolis itself. 12 It would be helpfu l at this point to rehearse a brief overview of Atget's complex photographic and archival practice as meticulously uncovered by Maria Morris Hambourg, especially in relation to street photography. For his own purposes, Atget categorized all of his photographs in one of five primary series: Landscape-Documents, Art in Old Paris, Environs, Picturesque Paris, and Topography of Old Paris. There are numerous subgroups within each of these primary categories, in addition to albums 6
Nearly concurrent with the publication of Hambourg's dissertation, Szarkowski curated exhibitions of Atget's photographs donated by Berenice Abbott and Julien Levy that sought to characterize Atget as the progenitor of modernist photography. Partnering with Hambourg, Szarkowski characterized Atget as an inconsistent genius, a man who showed unflagging dedication to his self-imposed assignment to document old Paris. What followed was a flood of exhibitions and critical texts seeking to fill in Atget's empty urbanism with possible meaning, as well as the resuscitation of texts written shortly after his death. 13 curated by Atget himself. Art in Old Paris, Picturesque Paris, and Topography are the three series that contain photographs of the streets of Paris. Art in Old Paris, the first serial group Atget organized, contains just under 2,000 negatives, and was compiled over thirty years, beginning in 1897 until his death in 1927. Initially, the photographs pictured street corners, buildings, quais, and alleys the bricks and mortar forming the physical structure of medieval Paris. Atget sold images in this series to Parisian artists, libraries and museums. In 1901, Atget began tailoring this series to a clientele of restoration artists and private collectors by photographing architectural details of the historic buildings. As Atget refined the focus of the Art in Old Paris series, he relocated any photographs that no longer suited the needs of the group, primarily images of the social relations and types of people one would find on a traversal of old Paris, into a new group, Picturesque Paris. This new series contains the small commerce workers who sold their goods on the streets, as well as ragpickers, vagrants, prostitutes, gypsies, and pictures of empty city streets in the areas they inhabited. The photographs within this series were also uncommissioned, and sold to libraries and museums for their archives. Concurrent with these two series, in 1906 Atget was commissioned by the Biblioth que Historique de la Ville to perform a systematic and regulated topographic survey of the streets in the first, second, fourth, fifth, and sixth arrondissements the parts of the city that still contained elements from the medieval city. These pictures, the Topography series, were produced specifically for an institutional patron with the intention of preserving an image of the neighborhoods of old Paris, thus they attempt to record as much visual information about the street and the neighborhood, as possible and they participate in the "official" memory-making and preserving effort of Paris. Atget sold his last group of photographs in the Topography series to the library in 1915, after which he no longer worked by commission. Hambourg's study of Atget's archive also indicated Atget himself moved photographs from one series or one subset to another as thematic trends developed. The fact that Atget saw these categories as mutable and not fixed supports my method of examining photographs across the series rather than focusing on any one grouping. 13 Albert Valentin, "Eugne Atget"; Pierre Mac Orlan "The Literary Art of Imagination and Photography"; and Robert Desnos, "Spectacles of the Street Eugne Atget"; all in Christopher Phillips, Photography in the Modern Era (New York: MOMA, 1989). These men did not have a personal association with Atget, in fact, some of them misspelled his name even as they hailed him as a visionary. Desnos wrote a second article for Merle (1929) and g ave Atget's name as mile Adget.' See Ian Walker, City Gorged with Dreams 111n33 Waldemar George misspelled Atget's last name 'Adget' as well in his essay "Photographie vision du monde" cited in Nesbit, Seven Albums, 18. 7
Ultimately, even when claiming otherwise, Atget scholarship since the MoMA exhibitions has traditionally considered Atget's career arc as existing in a relative historical vacuum. For instance, in her book Atget's Seven Albums (1992) Molly Nesbit painstakingly analyzes Atget's practice from a Marxist perspective. Nesbit's Atget was not an inconsistent genius whose work became more refined as he aged, rather he was a shrewd entrepreneur whose images responded to a very real and lucrative market demand. Even so, Nesbit's concern is with Atget's career in his present, not with the historical precedence for his formal choices. Atget's motives have been very thoroughly contextualized within the span of his own career, but situating Atget within a history of Parisian street photography is a study yet to be attempted. I undertake a more rigorous analysis of Atget as successor to the lineage of Parisian urban photographers, such as Henri Le Secq, douard Baldus, and Charles Marville, just to name a few, who were performing "memory-work" for official archives. I situate Atget as a participant within this photographic heritage. Atget's formal choices make him a singular figure of the time, the only photographer who embodied the heritage of Parisian street photography at the very moment when artists and journalists were turning to the social interactions of Parisian streets for subject matter, forming new genres of photography. 14 14 By the 1930s, the term "street phot ography" described photographs capturing the social relations that occurred in public places, as practiced famously by Brassa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Robert Doisneau among countless others. Street photographs from the twentieth century capture candid encounters, instantaneity, voyeurism, strange juxtapositions that emphasize the temporality of interactions, and split-second judgment needed to affix such occurrences to film. Subjects were often unaware that they were being photographed and, as such, street photography (and by extension, photojournalism) is perceived to have an aura of authenticity in capturing real' interactions that staged' or premeditated photographs lack. However, in defining the photographs by Eugne Atget for the purposes of this study, I mean the term street photography' to indicate photographs which could be classified as portraits' of the streets and buildings of Paris. These photographs of the streets differ from proto-photojournalistic street photography in that they picture the physical material of the city as the 8
My research and thesis account for Atget's mode of picturing city streets as more than simply personal style. The aesthetic Atget reproduces participates in a lineage of Parisian street photography which originated with the earliest photographic developments and is rooted in the desire to preserve an image of Paris as it was subjected to catastrophic alterations. The examination of Atget's practice as an archivist, documentarian, or artist-photographer has not made evident that his formal choices are often historically rooted in a mode of photography born hand-in-hand with architectural preservation movements and irrevocable alterations to urban space. Likewise, in studying Atget's oeuvre, one must consider the socially and historically specific nature of his work, namely Paris shortly after the urban traumas of Haussmannization (1853-70), the Prussian siege and occupation (1870-71), and the Paris Commune (1871). Identifying Lieux de M moire Following Nora's theory, there are several criteria required for successful identification of a site of memory, each of which I delineate within this paper. The first is one that I have already explained above, namely, recognition of a practice that seems out of place in relation to its society. Atget's photographs did not represent the Paris of early twentieth-century lived experience, and this was recognized by some of his contemporary viewers, Man Ray among them. Likewise, his divergence from contemporary styles of photography has made him of interest to later scholars. 15 The sheer abundance of texts about Atget's work is itself indicative of the presence of a lieu de mmoire : twentiethsubject of the picture rather than treating the street merely as a photogenic backdrop for social exchanges. 15 This paper will not concentrate on the manner by which Atget's entire oeuvre could be construed as a lieux de mmoire for twentiethand twenty-first-century viewers, but it is worth mentioning here at the outset as a field ripe for potential study. 9
century scholars have attempted to fix and determine the meaning of Atget's oeuvre, and to locate his anachronistic work within the narrative of modernist photography, a narrative within which Atget's photographs will never easily fit. 16 The next goal is to identify the historical tradition which the site of memory references. To that end, the first chapter of this study traces the formation of the aesthetic which Atget emulates, namely empty-street photographs, beginning with the first photograph of a Parisian street by Daguerre in 1838. Why and how was this representational mode adopted as an acceptable means for documenting a modern metropolis? How did this aesthetic come to signify preservation for its viewers? I trace the formal choices that were repeated and concretized over time into tropes for the photographic preservation of urban spaces and how such formal choices resonated with the experience of contemporary viewers. Once the historical tradition of empty-street photography is established, one must pose a point of rupture in collective memory. For the purposes of this paper, I am using the Halbwachsian conception of collective memory since Nora's theories are based on the theories set out by sociologist Maurice Halbwachs. 17 For Halbwachs, individual memory always exists in relation to social memory informed by the perspective of group membership. Memories cohere because they are part of a totality of thoughts common to a group, the group of people with whom we have a relation at this moment, or with whom we have had a relation on the preceding day or days. To recall them it is 16 In his essay "Remembering Forgetting: Maladies de la Mmoire in Nineteenth-Century France," Michael Roth suggests that the effort to systematically establish social connections to the past, which may have become difficult to discern, is a characteristic of the existence of a lieu de mmoire Representations 26 (1989): 49-68. 17 Maurice Halbwachs, On Collective Memory ed. Lewis A. Coser (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992). 10
hence sufficient that we place ourselves in the perspective of this group, that we adopt its interests and follow the slant of its reflections  Just as people are members of many different groups at the same time, so the memory of the same fact can be placed within many frameworks, which result from distinct collective memories. 18 Therefore, for Halbwachs and Nora, collective memory does not exist within a vague collective unconscious. An individual may be affected by as many collective memories as he or she has group identifications. 19 Collective memories are nested and overlapping, contextual, much like a palimpsest. In the context of nineteenth-century Paris, one need look no further for evidence of a collectively experienced trauma than the remodeling of Paris by Napoleon III and his prefect of the Seine, Baron Georges -Eugne Haussmann. The upheaval caused by the Second Empire was followed directly by the Prussian siege of Paris during the FrancoPrussian War, and the Commune in 1870-71. The establishment of a practice as a lieu de mmoire is contingent upon the passage of time during which sedimentation of meaning takes place; l ieux de mmoire undergo metamorphoses in meaning or interpretation without which they would not exist. T hese events changed the way Parisians imagined their existence within the city and added multiple layers of signification to the medieval streets of Paris, which had suddenly become unrecognizable, endangered, or home to revolutionaries. Formation of a lieu de mmoire is dependent upon a disruption of collective memory or social practice followed by the crystallization of fragments of the memory or 18 Ibid. 52. 19 I would characterize, therefore, a national French collective memory, but also a Parisian collective memory, which could be broken down even further into a collective memory of those who lived through particular urban traumas, like Haussmannization or the Commune, or who were members of a certain quartier or class, social club, religious affiliation, professional association, national or ethnic groups, or any combination thereof. 11
practice, in a material, symbolic, and functional manner, despite the rupture. My final objective, therefore, is to evaluate the persistence of the practice after the rupture in collective memory by returning to examine the context within which Atget's practice flourished. For whom were these images lieux de mmoire ? What was the contemporary perspective on the medieval past? Through guidebooks and primary literary sources, I examine the notion of vieux Paris in the collective imagination of Parisians at the turn of the century and how this urban imaginary was mapped onto the actual extant old portions of the city. Nora's framework was initially applied solely to studies of French nationalist constructs. I will be applying the methodology to a more localized study since my argument relates to a specifically Parisian collective memory. I will attempt to analyze the phenomenon surrounding street photography during the Second Empire and Third Republic without the apparent biases for memory over history which Nora occasionally evidences. This study will be of interest to anyone exploring the dialog between memory, urban spaces, and attempts to represent the relation between the two. Even in seemingly straightforward documents of urban spaces, such as Atget's, architecture and cities spaces are themselves representations of a social order and the product of a governing ideology. Likewise for the re-presentation of urban spaces, in images or spectacular leisure constructions. The symbolic order of cities, underlying the physical fabric experienced and lived in every day, is one that can be easily overlooked in its silent structuring of our daily existence. Generally, it is only in the face of catastrophic destruction that such 12
underpinnings are revealed. The historical moment surrounding Haussmannization in Paris allows me to examine the manner by which social groups respond to and shape their space and how collective memories (of what was there before, or what imagined futures could have been) inform representations of such spaces. Furthermore, a historicized study of both memory and photography's roles within this particular city during a time of widespread upheaval provides a way to look at contemporary repositories of memory in the modern metropolis. 20 Ultimately, in this context and with historical and cultural distance, I side with Roland Barthes who argues that photographs do not recall the past, rather they simply indicate that some thing was in front of the camera at the moment of its exposure, "to attest that what I see has indeed existed." 21 In the case of the photographs in this study, however, the omissions of individuals and social relations that were also before the camera what I do not see are just as important as what has been recorded on the plates. 20 In his book-length study Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), Andreas Huyssen approaches some of these same themes as they relate to contentious spaces in Berlin, Buenos Aires, and New York, among others. To the list of worthwhile studies of urban spaces informed by sets of communal memories, I would add twentiethcentury Paris as represented by the Situationists and through Gordon Matta-Clark's cuttings, the mixture of fantasy and reality in theme park constructs, and "nostalgic" home developments (Seaside, FL and Celebration, FL for example). 21 Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida Richard Howard, trans. (New York: Hill and Wang, 1997), 82. 13
CHAPTER ONE: THE INCEPTION OF A PRESERVATION AESTHETIC Atget's photograph of the Place Saint-Andredes -Arts may not initially strike a viewer as a document of old Paris. The main building itself is covered with advertisements for Paris Soir the newly formed daily newspaper, and other advertisements. Regardless of its surface appearance, however, the name of this image, and this area, references the church that stood on this block from 1212 until 1809. 22 Though the streets are completely empty, evidence of habitation comes by way of the signs and advertisements, which would require a reader, and tire marks from an automobile that had passed by at some point before the picture was taken. And yet its eerie stillness presumably resulting from Atget's penchant for working before the day's activity had begun recalls not a twentieth-century city teeming with life, but a preserved space, one on which the contingencies of urban life are not permitted to impinge. None of the concerns of late nineteenth century urbanization are alluded to here. For instance, there are no inhabitants present to alter or cause damage to the scene; the building will never need to be demolished for the piercing of a wide boulevard to facilitate the flow of traffic and commerce; there is no population in the city, so concerns of expansion and overcrowding are moot; and without inhabitants, there are none to revolt or to occupy the city while leveraging for political power. In this chapter I attempt to historicize the mode of photography practiced by 22 Jacques Hillairet, Dictionnaire Historique des rues de Paris (Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1963), 373. 14
Atget. It is often the very emptiness of the streets, photographed during the period when Paris was most renown for its exciting street life, from the 1890s through the 1920s, that opens discourse about the photographer and his practice simply because his images seem to be anachronisms from a time outside of modern experience. The purpose of this chapter is both to provide evidence of a historical tradition for Atget's mode of picturing Parisian streets, and to establish this practice as a milieu de mmoire during the first half of the nineteenth century. According to Pierre Nora's definition of the lieu de mmoire the site of memory must have acquired symbolic meaning. Nora proposes that this occurs over time, when a social practice or tradition occurring spontaneously among practitioners suddenly passes away, but then returns after a rupture in practice or communal memory. Nora terms the originating practice, the pre-rupture, a milieu de mmoire or an environment of memory. The milieu de mmoire is directly related to lieux de mmoire in that it is an unselfconscious practice, which over time acquires symbolic significance through purposeful observation or commemoration. If a milieu de mmoire survives as a tradition, it is one that is changeable and open to manipulation. Practitioners ceaselessly reinvent customs, which are integrated into life in such a way that social groups may not even be conscious of their existence. Milieux de mmoire are in a state of permanent evolution, open to both remembering and forgetting, and even to being abandoned. 23 In fact, it is when a custom is abandoned then revived and invested with symbolic meaning that it may become a lieu de mmoire 23 Nora, "Between Memory and History 8. 15
In this chapter, I apply this concept to urban photographic practice in Paris from 1839 until 1868. I argue that the visual tradition created and reproduced by photographers during this time was an aesthetic milieu de mmoire and the form to which Atget's photographs later refer. To achieve this, I construct a narrative of particularly formative moments in the history of Parisian street photography as it was employed to document architecture and spaces in danger of being lost. The constant theme that I explicate through each of these sections is that the formal similarities of empty-street photographs would have spurred varying interpretations in contemporary viewers; the existence of multitudinous meaning and interpretation is the prime characteristic of a milieu de mmoire. Daguerre's First Photograph of Paris In 1837, Louis J. M. Daguerre invented an imaging process that for the first time permanently recorded images on a plate with only twenty or thirty minutes of exposure to light. Since the exposure time was still too lengthy to photograph people, and because of the need for strongly lit subject matter, Daguerre turned his lens to the streets. Among the earliest of all daguerreotypes, Boulevard du Temple from 1838 (Figure 2) is a view of one of the most active Parisian boulevards at the time. Yet all that remained visible after the half-hour exposure were those elements remaining still. Essentially, none of the ephemeral experience for which Paris was famed in the nineteenth century remained fixed on the mirror-polished silver. Neither the bustle of the street, nor indication of the innumerable forms of exciting entertainment, nor traces of the parade of fashionable men 16
17 Figure 2. Boulevard du Temple Louis Jacques Mand Daguerre, 1838. Daguerreotype. Stadtmuseum, Munich.
and women are present in this image. 24 Only permanent, solid, grounded elements were recorded on the plate: the buildings lining the boulevard, the newly commonplace wide sidewalks with their gas lampposts, the trees, and all of the other concrete, palpable raw materials of the old city. The sole indicator of inhabitation is the lone man who stood still on the corner having his boots polished long enough to be captured, and even he appears more as a humanoid shape than as an individual. The movement of the bootblack and his labor were too rapid to be recorded and he becomes little more than a smudged crescent. Incongruities between image and experience did not go unnoticed by viewers of Daguerre's image, though not all critics could explain why the streets emptied out when put to the plate. Samuel F. B. Morse, in Paris to file a patent for his telegraph, paid a special visit to Daguerre's studio to see the Boulevard du Temple. In a letter to his brother, later published by the New York Observer he described the Boulevard, "so constantly filled with a moving throng of pedestrians and carriages, [as] perfectly solitary, except for an individual who was having his boots brushed." 25 Morse, himself a scientist who grasped the workings of the photographic process more quickly than other viewers, 24 Vanessa R. Schwartz, Spectacular Realities Early Mass Culture in Fin-de-Siecle Paris (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 18, 20. The Boule vard du Temple was one of the original grands boulevards created in the late seventeenth century when Louis XIV razed the city walls in a show of French military strength and confidence. Since their creation, grands boulevards were destinations in and of themselves, and were viewed as an urban theater, or a theater of life. The Boulevard du Temple was the most celebrated of the grands boulevards because of the multitude of exciting entertainment one would find there. The establishment of numerous independent theaters like the Th tre Nicolet, the Funambules, the Gait , the Cirque Olympique, the Folies Dramatiques the D lass'-Com', the PetitLazari and the AmbiguComique led to the nickname "Boulevard du Crime" for the type of dramas one would find therein. Daguerre's original Diorama, a colossal painted scene onto which lighting effects were projected creating the illusio n of movement and of the passage of time, was located on this street. Further, one would not be hard pressed to find street musicians and merchants, wax cabinets, menageries, and acrobats, and Parisians bringing their own chairs to sit and watch the spectacle. See also Shelley Rice Parisian Views (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997), 7; T. J. Clark, The Painting of Modern Life ( Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984 ), 50. 25 Samuel F.B. Morse, New York Observer (April 20, 1839), quoted in Micha el Marrinan, Romantic Paris ( Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009), 369. 18
correctly attributed the absence of pedestrians, carriages, and other signs of life to long exposure times needed to register sufficient light on the plate. 26 For other critics, those who perhaps did not understand the scientific and optic principles behind Daguerre's invention as well as Morse, there was a force at work, an agency, coming from the process, the plate, or even the sun itself, determining what was to be included or omitted from the image. The nineteenth-century viewer's knowledge of daily life tells him that this process has not recorded the boulevard of his lived experience, with lively street vendors and performers or hectic pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Yet, the daguerreotype was popularly called a "mirror with a memory," referencing the belief that the daguerreotype faithfully preserves the image of that which is exposed to the lens and the plate. With or without the bustle of the Parisian street, this must be reality of some sort. For those who thought the medium of photography itself or divine sunlight decided what images would remain on the plate, this deserted street view must have confirmed the permanence of Paris, specifically the built environment and the monuments to great men who had brought the city to this point. Writing in January 1839 for the journal L'Artiste, literary critic Jules Janin expressed his belief that the daguerreotype process will preserve an unchangeable image of Paris specifically due to the imagined agency of an eternal force, rather than of an inconsistent man, deciding what urban features were worthy of preservation. This time, it is no longer the hesitant look of a man who has a view of shadow and light from a distance, it is no longer his trembling hand that reproduces upon a loose sheet of paper the changing scene of this world 26 Rice, Parisian Views 6-7 and Marrin an, Romanti c Paris, 368-69. 19
that the void sweeps away [. .] No human hand can draw like the sun; no human hand can plunge so deeply into these streams of light, this profound darkness. We have seen the greatest monuments of Paris reproduced in this manner this time Paris will really become the eternal city. We have seen the cobblestones of the Gr ve the water of the Seine, the sky covering Sainte Genevi ve and in each of these masterpieces there was the same divine perfection. 27 In Daguerre's photograph, the factual morphology of the Boulevard du Temple, namely the orientation of the street, the relative location of buildings, the illusion of naturalistic space, was conflated with an imaginary image of city space and time that omits all experience of daily life. The camera simply reproduced what was before it, and some mysterious, determining factor decided what was of permanent value (monuments) and what could be left out (people). The lack of street activity implied the expendability of those who inhabit the boulevard, at least in terms of what was important for posterity, what would be remembered as a part of the 'eternal city,' and what could be forgotten. At this moment, this condition of the medium was evidently not problematic; it was not even mentioned in most reports of the invention. 28 In their fascination with the detail of the daguerreotype, and their ability to count paving stones and read distant street signs, the missing people simply were not a concern. 29 While a contemporary viewer might have experienced a cognitive dissonance between the image and the experience of living city streets, the emptiness of Daguerre's street view, as expressed by Janin, was Paris stripped to its most 27 Jules Janin, "Le Daguerrotype ," L'Artiste 2e s r., 2 (1839): 148. Quoted in Marrinan, Romantic Paris, 369. 28 Marrinan, 370. Marrinan writes, "The most interesting aspect of this erasure of life was its apparent unimportance to Janin and his Parisian contemporaries, for it elicited almost no comment." Presumably, the lack of comment on this matter in primary documentation led Marrinan to the conclusion that critics were unconcerned by the unpopulated urban landscapes. 29 Marrinan, Romantic Paris, 369-70. 20
essential elements. Historical structures and monuments would be eternally preserved, without the messy trappings of historical contingency. For Daguerre's audience, men of the Academy, of the government, and of science, emptiness on the old boulevard highlighted the permanence of that which is pictured. The barrenness is a testament to the enduring nature of Paris itself. It is well known that the busy boulevard rendered vacant by Daguerre's process resulted from the limitations of photographic technology in 1838. Yet, inadvertently, this image also determined the prototype of the archival topographical view for nearly one hundred years. The Boulevard du Temple does not reflect all of the technical signs that would come to define architectural photography, 30 however the illusion of emptiness, the long views down the Parisian avenues, and the omission of inhabitants of the pictured buildings and streets, were persistent elements even after photographic technology allowed for alternate representations of the city streets. The Invention of Instantaneous Photography The publication of Daguerre's process in 1839 led to experimentation and rapid advances by enterprising photographers. The invention of lenses with variable aperture settings in 1840 meant the photographer could control the amount of light reaching the plate thus reducing exposure time. The additional discovery that treating the plate with bromine or chlorine vapors before exposure greatly improved the light sensitivity of the 30 According to Molly Nesbit, t he pictorial conventions most useful to the building industry were frontality, symmetry, and exactitude in detail. The desire for legibility of form and detail led to the tendency to photograph buildings as isolated from their surroundings and as if they existed outside of time. When employed in the service of preservationist or conservationist motives, the same attempt to decontextualize the structure occurs. Encroachments in the form of people, vehicles, or even puddles would be cropped out or retouched over to eliminate any indicators of temporality. The preservationist model wanted to portray the city streets in a manner suggesting the building always had and always would exist in precisely the state in which it was pictured. Nesbit, Seven Albums 51, 63, 104. 21
surface changed the resulting images of the street. As early as 1841, just three years after the Boulevard du Temple, it was possible for daguerreotypists to 'freeze' motion on the streets, showing urban spaces that were populated, if sparsely, by pedestrians, carriages, and other slowly-moving street traffic. 31 For example, in Marc Antoine Gaudin's photograph of the funeral procession of the Duc d'Orleans in 1842 (Figure 3), the forward guard of the parade is visible with minimal motion blur. However, the figures in the middle of the streets, as well as the banners and flags on top of the buildings are less legible because they were moving more quickly during the exposure. Termed instantan es these views were considered superior from their inception. An anonymous writer for L'Artiste defines an instantane as an image with "groups of people in action, views of the Pont Neuf with carriages and pedestrians in motion; delightful portraits in which you no longer find the stiffness or dryness of the first daguerreotype portraits." 32 Significantly, the term was applied to both city views and portraiture indiscriminately. What qualified an instantane was evidence of animated, spontaneous life. People on the street, individuals at work, portraits capturing fleeting expressions all give evidence of life, of movement, of contingency, and the inevitability of change. According to Marrinan, the advent of the daguerreotype instantane created consumer demand for more images "by shifting the subject of interest from space to 31 Marrinan, Romantic Paris, 374. 32 Anonymous "Des nouveaux procds de la photographie," L'Artiste, 2e s r., 8 (1841): 245. Quoted in Marrinan, Romantic Paris, 376. 22
23 Figure 3. Funrailles du duc d'Orlans Notre-Dame de Paris. Marc Antoine Gaudin, 1842. Daguerreotype, 7.5 x 7.5 cm, Muse D'Orsay, Paris.
action, from monuments to movement. Daguerre's process created the need but was unable to fulfill the demand for images of the world in motion." 33 The public's desire for images of a living city was momentarily fulfilled in 1841, but photographers continued to experiment with methods and materials that would require shorter exposure times. In the early 1850s, new processes flooded the market, all of which required significantly less exposure time only about a minute in good light and could freeze the motion of the street, providing some indication of the experiential aspects of life in Paris. 34 With such advanced processes available as early as 1851, why did the conventions unintentionally established by Daguerre endure? Why was the style continually employed for nearly a century after Daguerre's Boulevard du Temple? The Photographers of the Missions Hliographiques in Paris: douard Bald us and Henri Le Secq Photography's auspicious arrival coincided with the beginnings of official architectural preservation concerns in France. In 1837, the Comte de Montalivet and Franois Guizot, the present and former Ministers of the Interior, created the Commission des Monuments Historiques to survey the state of national monuments and to prioritize conservation and restoration for those structures in poor condition 35 Comprised of historians, antiquarians, administrators, architects, and eventually photographers, the 33 Marrinan, 378. 34 In 1840, William Henry Fox Talbot invented th e calotype process, which produced paper negatives that could be contact-printed for paper positives, marking the first practical method of duplicating images. In 1851, Louis-D sir Blanquart-Evrard presented albumen paper prints, which became the preferred method for popular cartes-de-visites. Nearly simultaneously, Gustav Le Gray developed the papier-cir sec process. Occasionally Le Gray is noted as the inventor of the wet collodion process, though this is most often attributed to Frederick Scott Archer who announced the procedure in 1851. 35 M. Christine Boyer, La Mission Hliographique : Architectural Photography, Collective Memory and the Patrimony of France, 1851," in Picturing Place: Photography and the Geographical Imagination ed. Joan M. Schwartz and James R. Ryan (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2003), 29. 24
Commission had the assignment of investigating structures that could be identified with national patrimony in terms of their value to the historical record and to French national memory. This Commission embodied what Christine Boyer terms a preservation mentality, the goals of which were "to inventory and preserve historic monuments of France under an enlightened directorship, with a body of restoration principles worked out in practice and a specially trained group of architects to implement the work." 36 Initially, the Commission was slow to recognize the benefit of employing photographers in its overwhelming task. During the 1840s, the organization was primarily concerned with the restoration of already endangered sites, not with searching out other potentially threatened structures. 37 Finally, in 1851, a subcommittee of the Commission, likely spurred by the newly formed Socit Hliographique, initiated the Missions Hliographiques contracting five photographers to travel the provinces for a photographic architectural survey. 38 Photographers would aid in the inventory process, creating an objective image of a structure's condition at the moment of exposure; architects viewing the resulting images would identify the buildings most in need of repair and protection, those most in danger of falling into a condition of irreparable damage. The photographers were given an urgent errand: trek across the countryside and photograph a set of monuments in danger of entropic destruction; return with negatives to aid a team of architects, most notably Eugne Violletle Duc in restoring or preserving the monuments; and, ultimately, obtain an image of the structure to function as a baseline, 36 Ibid. 37 Ibid., 38-39. 38 Ibid., 40-41.The photograph ers of the Mission Hliographique were Henri Le Secq, Gustav Le Gray, douard Baldus, Hippolyte Bayard and O. M estral 25
a starting point for comparing future damage or repair. 39 Each photographer was directed to major and secondary monuments in his assigned area, such as abandoned royal palaces, medieval and Romanesque churches, Roman monuments, and Gothic cathedrals. 40 Since the Commission had not outlined any formal techniques or specifications that would produce the most effective images for their needs, what resulted from the photographers' excursions was a rather diverse set of paper negatives and salt prints, 41 wherein each of the five photographers decided for himself what aspects of the monuments were most important or valuable for preservation in archival memory. 42 To consider the range of emphases in preservation photography, we can turn to the postMission careers of Henri Le Secq and douard Baldus. When Le Secq and Baldus returned from their respective missions, demolitions in Paris were underway. While Georges -Eug ne Haussmann has been seen as the progenitor of modernization in Paris, Jean-Jacques Berger Prefect of the Seine from 1848 until 1852, actually began some of the building projects more comprehensively executed by his infamous successor. 43 Berger's priority was d gagement the liberation of architectural monuments 39 Ibid., 36. 40 T wo monuments from each place were enough to satisfy the Co mmission, even when considerably more ancient structures existed in the same site. Barry Bergdoll, "A Matter of Time: Architects and Photographers in Second Empire France" in The Photographs of douard Baldus. Malcolm Daniel, ed. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994), 106. 41 The Commission's specification of calotypes over daguerreo types is a puzzling one. The daguerreotype is capable of capturing almost infinite detail to date the resolution achieved is unmatched which, for the purposes of recording architectural detail, would seem to be the most effective process. However, the Commission instead wanted the photographers to use the calotype process, paper negatives contactprinted for paper positives. The decision could simply be one based on practicality: the men would be traveling and the paper negatives are less unwieldy than the silver plates needed for daguerreotypes; calotypes would allow for duplication since it was not a direct negative process; the daguerreotype was a rather small format at its largest, approximately 6 x 8 inches. However, the calotype is not known for its ability to replicate minute detail; conversely, they create a very dramatic chiaroscuro effect rendering prints somewhat hazy, even painterly. 42 Bergdoll, "A Matter of Time, 43-45. 43 Man y of the plans eventually executed by and attributed solely to Haussmann were actually initiated by the Baron's predecessors. Gilbert-Joseph-Gaspard Chabrol (1812-30), Claude-Philippe-Berthelot de 26
from parasitic structures and slums that had formed around them over decades, even centuries. Therefore, monuments were being cleared of conjoined buildings to make a more visually pleasing view of the city's architectural patrimony, 44 representing the beginnings of a shift from urban spaces of lived memory to spaces of historicization. Significantly, both photographers replicated the aesthetic determined by Daguerre's street-scape as they documented demolitions and restoration projects in the capital in 1852-53. Baldus had a successful career documenting architectural restoration projects for the Ministry of the Interior, and Le Secq pursued an independent documentation project wherein he photographed many buildings prior to and during stages of demolition. A comparison of photographs by the two men of the same monument, the Tour Saint Jacques la Boucherie will reveal formal choices and evidence historical concerns of each photographer. The tower that both men photographed in 1852 was once part of the church by the same name, built between 1509 and 1523, and patronized by the affluent butchers of the central market. The church itself was demolished during the Revolution, leaving only the tower as a fragment of the building that had existed there before. 45 The municipal Rambuteau (1833-48) and Jean-Jacques Berger (1848-52) all had plans to straighten, widen, and extend streets and to visually isolate monuments for optimal viewing which were not carried out in a manner as comprehensive as that imagined by Haussmann. Christopher Mead, "Urban Contingency and the Problem of Representation in Second Empire Paris," Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 52 no. 4 (1995): 139. As Clark notes, however, some of the plans popularly attributed to Haussmann by his critics had been considered for more than thirty years before he took office. Berger's efforts, therefore, have been subsumed into the larger projects of Haussmann. Clark, Painting of Modern Life, 30-32. 44 My use of this term originates with Boyer, who builds a convincing argument that after the revolution, architecture t hat was previously characterized as decadent was re-framed by French historians to be part of France's patrimony. "La Mission Hliographique ," 24-25. Kevin Murphy also adopts the term in relation to Eug ne Viollet-le-Duc's restoration of the Church of the Madeleine in V zelay in his booklength study Memory and Modernity (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000) I will further explicate this concept in relation to my argument in Chapter 3. 45 Bergdoll, "A Matter of Time," 108. 27
government of Paris purchased the tower in the 1830s; by 1852, clearance of the surrounding neighborhoods that had sprung up around the structure in the intervening decades since the destruction of the church was nearly complete. 46 Baldus photographed the tower from the front (Figure 4), providing a view of the monument in isolation from the structures surrounding it. Conversely, Le Secq composed his shot from the neighborhood side of the tower (Figure 5), almost directly opposite where Baldus would have set up his camera. Previous scholars have argued that each photographer individually internalized the propensities of the Commission and each created images that respond to their respective interpretations of what would be of use to the Commission and the archive. 47 I agree with these assessments, and further contend that by comparing these two images, we can see that there was not only one way to anticipate the needs of the archive. This multiplicity in photographic interpretation is a characteristic of a milieu de mmoire. Baldus's photograph shows the tower and its construction site isolated from surrounding buildings, which are dwarfed by the tower and look dark and diseased in comparison to the airy, open, sunlit foreground. The building in the right-background is in the process of being gutted; its inner walls have been exposed for the procedure. The 46 Ibi d. See also Rice, Parisian Views 17. 47 For very thorough discussions on the methods of Bald us and Le Secq supporting the claim that the Missions Hliographiques were formative in each photographer's later process, see Bergdoll, "A Matter of Time: Architects and Photographers in Second Empire France" ; Eugenia Parry Janis, "Demolition Picturesque: Photographs of Paris in 1852 and 1853 by Henri Le Secq," in Perspectives on Photography: Essays in honor of Beaumont Newhall ed. Peter Walch and Thomas F. Barrow (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1986); Andre Jammes and Eugenia Parry Janis, The Art of the French Calotype (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1983); Eugenia Parry Janis and Josiane Sartre, Henri Le Secq, Photographe de 1850 1860 Catalog raisonn fr om the collection of the Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs, Paris (Paris: Flammarion, 1986). 28
29 Figure 4. Tour Saint-Jacques, Paris, Cleared of Surrounding Buildings and Debris. douard Baldus, 1852-53. Salted paper print from paper negative, 43.5 x 34.5 cm. Private collection, Paris.
30 Figure 5. Tour St. Jacques. Henri Le Secq, 1853, from the Album Berger. Positive print from paper negative, Bibliothque Historique de la Ville de Paris, Paris.
row of apartments to the left of the tower are dark, as if to emphasize the dreary condition of the surrounding areas that will be cleared to create a spacious place surrounding the tower. As he did with monuments from his mission, Baldus presented the historical monument in spatial isolation, framed to appear disentangled from quotidian structures around it. The necessary exposure time for paper negatives, up to five minutes depending on the light available, was enough to erase the activity of the worksite, so it appears empty, even though the materials of the site are still present and highly legible. The piles of stones on the sidewalk and nearer the tower are individually articulated. Similarly, one can count the logs in the pile of timber in the foreground. Baldus's print is rather evenly toned throughout; in fact, the shadows in the windows of the tower and on the steps in the foreground indicate that the sun was likely directly above the tower. The area in deepest shadow, the block of buildings to the left of the tower, is almost inexplicably dark. Does this street lie in the shadow of the tower? If so, the front of the tower and the the gutted building on the right would be slightly shaded as well, since they would not be facing the direct sunlight. Furthermore, there is a noticeable fluctuation of tones on the roofs of the structures on the left. While the lighter tonal passages are not light enough to be clearly legible as the effects of sunlight, there does appear to be a raking light originating from the top left. This darkening of the tonal range of this entire section of the photograph may indicate that Baldus darkened that part of the image by burning in or overexposing that portion of the print in the darkroom. Likewise, the bright-white plaster of the building that is being torn down functions as a 31
strategic highlighting of the process, pointing to the fact that this building will shortly be gone altogether, opening up the surrounding space. Baldus creatively completed the dgagement of the structure still in progress through distance, framing, and darkroom manipulation; he focused only on the sufficiently important historical relic and subsumed unnecessary visual information to the background. 48 The tower stands apart, the construction site and half-demolished houses in the background hinting at the spacious place that will replace the overcrowded warren of dwellings. Lighting on the building in the back right highlights its "in demolition" status, showing the innards that would not be visible otherwise, while the other buildings are darkened out to further relegate their position to extraneous background detail. This image, because of Baldus's unique printing process, evidences a clarity and detail that is not usually associated with paper negatives. 49 Ultimately, Baldus used darkroom techniques to foreshadow the final appearance of the monument. Le Secq's interpretation of the same subject, also from 1852, could hardly be more different than that of Baldus. 50 Both photographs appear to have been made within a short 48 Bergdoll, "A Matter of Time," 108. 49 Boyer, "La Mission Hliographiq ue," 50. When printing a positive image from a paper negative, more light is needed to pass through the denser negative than, for example, glass negatives that would be introduced later. Prints made from paper positives can have significant variances in tonality, making for a heavy chiaroscuro effect. While on his mission, Baldus mitigated the heavy chiaroscuro effect of the calotype process by meticulously assembli ng prints from multiple negatives, each exposed for a different tona lity. Many of Baldus's prints were constructed from multiple negatives. In the extreme example of his photograph of the Cloister of Saint-Troph me in Arles, he combined ten different negatives to extend the tonal range and depth of field that on e single negative could achieve. 50 The demolitions Le Secq photographed in Par is in 1852-53 were part of an independent documentation project grouped together in the Album Berger, dedicated and gifted to Berger Among other sites he photographed were the notorious slums between the Louvre and the Tuileries palaces, the seventeenthcentury water pump outside Ntre Dame, the Place de l'Htel de Ville, and various other demolitions throughout the city. Eugenia Parry Janis, scholar of Le Secq and his works, presumes these photographs exist for the sole purpose of commemorating and marking the large-scale changes beginning to mar the urban landscape. In other words, there is no evidence that Le Secq's album was commissioned by any official government entity, nor was it requested by an individual antiquarian or historian. Though information about Le Secq's motives for producing this album and his relationship to Berger is scant, 32
period of time, simply from opposite points of view. The building in Le Secq's foreground is the same one that is in the background of Baldus's photograph evident by comparing the shape of the white plaster markings on the side. There are other passages of correspondence between the two images: the awning at the base of the tower and the adjacent jagged brick wall are present in both, as well as the small mounds of dirt and rubble in front of the tower. Like his decision to photograph ordinary dwellings in Alsace on his mission, in addition to the monuments assigned by the Commission, Le Secq here presents the ordinary architecture of Parisian experience, in other words the dwellings and shops of a living community, as having equal value as the monumental tower. Taken from an oblique angle from a building within the neighborhood, the image emphasizes the very thing Berger was effacing namely the living monument enmeshed in its quartier The faades of the apartment buildings are flush with that of the tower creating a sense of unity with the architecture of the street, despite the disparities in height. The heavy shadows formed by the close buildings and narrow streets, and accentuated by the calotype process, create a romantic undulation of light and darkness. Beginning on the right, there is a slight highlighting of the wall facing the street, while the back half of the building is in deep shadow. There is a break of sunlight through the space between the tower and the apartments, then the tower itself is shaded as well. The alternating light and dark of the buildings is echoed in the passage and blockage of sunlight onto the street and construction site, leading the viewer's eye to the crowd of buildings in the background. Rather than the shadows creating a sense of gloom, as in Janis has suggested a personal association between Berger and Le Secq led to the album of photographs being given to the former prefect as a gesture of moral support upon his retirement from public service. Janis, "Demolition Picturesque: Photographs of Paris in 1852 and 1853 by Henri Le Secq," 41-43. 33
Baldus's image, these bars of light and dark that alternately cover the buildings, the tower, the street, and the background, emphasize the interrelations between the structures, ordinary or monumental. Baldus would have methodically counteracted this kind of chiaroscuro effect in the print room. Le Secq, on the other hand, makes clear that prior to large-scale building clearance in Paris, even the monumental was part of the everyday experience. The tower stands out from its surroundings because of its height, but ultimately remains grounded to the same block as the simple houses being pulled down around it. The purpose of this comparison is to show evidence that photographers who were imaging the streets of Paris at this period may use similar methods, with similar formal results (empty streets), but interpretations may vary greatly. Since the diagonal composition of Le Secq's Tour SaintJacques nearly obscures the street and construction site completely, I would like to analyze another Le Secq photograph which renders a busy construction site as vacant as Baldus's photograph of the Tour Saint Jacques. In Demolitions, Place de l'H tel de Ville (Figure 6), also from 1852-53 and part of the Album Berger we see another demolition in progress, this time in the Place de Gr ve in preparation for the enlargement of the surrounding square. The worksite itself is photographed from a distant vantage point, again devoid of activity, resembling the unfortunate remnant of a battle rather than an active construction site. In the foreground, the faint ghosting of a horse and cart and other motion smears reaching to the far right edge of the frame are the only perceivable indicators of life on this street, or of the workers who were employed to tear down the structure. 34
35 Figure 6. Demolitions of the place de l'H tel de Ville Henri Le Secq, 1853, from the Album Berger Positive print from paper negative, Bibliothque Historique de la Ville de Paris, Paris.
We can assume Le Secq chose to memorialize this site because of the small medieval turret in the corner of the building, but he certainly did not use formal techniques to focus the viewer's attention there. The turret threatens to be subsumed by the deep shadow of the building facade, and what is highlighted instead are the spine and viscera of the ordinary immeuble being razed and the text on the far right of the frame. This mixed-use building had housed the neighborhood dentist as well as a restaurant, but was now going to be demolished, along with its charming antique architectural details, to make a grand vista for the Htel de Ville. Yet again, this photograph shows a desolate street that did not correspond with the contemporary experience of Parisians in the 1850s. The living sites visited by these photographers would have been chaotic as construction diverted traffic patterns; it would have been cacophonous with the sounds of demolition; and it would have been a veritable anthill of activity. It was so disruptive and so familiar to Parisians that a caricature of an unspecified worksite (Figure 7) could reference any number of areas throughout the city. Even though the calotype process required significantly shorter exposure times than the daguerreotype, the three to five minute exposure time still produced an image devoid of life, preserving only the remnants of a previous mode of existence. 51 T he reproduction of this empty-street aesthetic, for the purposes of architectural preservation and restoration, can have different meaning to different audiences. Baldus's interpretation of the scene corroborates the utopian dreams of Jules Janin, who imagined that by way of daguerreotypy, Parisian monuments would exist for eternity. Baldus 51 In part, this has to do with the conventions for repre senting architecture. Illustrated travel books, such as Isidore-Sverin-Justin Taylor's Voyages pittoresques et romantiques dans l'ancienne France (20 vols., 182078) informed the beginnings of architectural photography. Andre Jammes and Eugenia Parry Janis, The Art of the French Calotype 56. 36
37 Figure 7. Caricature of a construction site. Attributed to Crafty, date unknown. Muse de la Ville de Paris, published in Jean Des Cars and Pierre Pinon, Paris Haussmann: Le Pari d'Haussmann (Paris: Pavillon de l'Arsenal, 1991),133.
represents the past in a majestic form, but it is the past as an image, isolated from the daily experience of the monument within a living quartier In this instance, the emptiness of the street surrounding the Gothic tower attests to a sense of timelessness once fixed on the paper, the structure will stand isolated from the concerns of everyday life as a call to remember the grandeur of the past. Le Secq's audience, specifically those officials of the Commission des Monuments Historiques and Berger were themselves reluctant to allow the architecture of the past to simply fade into ruins without attempting to halt the entropic decay, or at least record for the archive the details that made the structures so unique. 52 For Le Secq, then, emptiness in photographs of old Paris is invested with a sense of sorrow for the loss of the relationship between monuments and neighborhoods. The work of Le Secq and Baldus presaged the photographic demands of the Second Empire, under which photographers would create 'before' and 'after' views of the city under construction. The next section will examine the work of Charles Marville, the most well-known photographer of the Second Empire, and Atget's direct predecessor. Haussmann's administration officially recognized the value of preserving in images structures that could not otherwise be saved, and initiated a systematic documentation of the portions of vieux Paris marked for destruction. Marville, who was primarily responsible for this work, photographed neighborhood streets before, during, and after Haussmann's changes. He also reproduced the empty-street aesthetic while 52 Le Secq's gi ft of the photo album to Berger at the end of his term would be a puzzling one, perhaps even contentious, unless Berger had some interest in the architecture that had to be demolished out of necessity. Le Secq's personal association with Berger, as proposed by Janis, suggests that perhaps the gift of the demolition pictures was meant to assure Berger that the destroyed architecture would still exist in images. 38
photographically preserving the medieval streets that were to be replaced with modern boulevards. Charles Marville's Photography during the Modernization of Paris Baron Georges -Eugne Haussmann, Prefect of the Seine under Napoleon III, administered the urban overhaul meant to once and for all modernize the rapidly growing city. Haussmann's name is most associated with the widespread destruction to which Paris was subjected between 1853 and 1869. Critics of Haussmann accused him of killing the quartier through acts of what many perceived to be wanton destruction. 53 Contrary to his common characterization as a solely destructive force, the prefect did recognize the importance of conserving the historical elements of the city to the extent possible, without compromising the ultimate goal of complete modernization. According to Anthony Sutcliffe, Haussmann directed significant funds to extensive historical research of the city, an ailing scholarly field despite popular interest in national history. Haussmann wanted to create a historical narrative from material objects within the city, and to this aim he began collecting notable artifacts for what is now the Muse Carnavalet, the museum of the history of Paris. 54 Additionally, Haussmann employed a team of archivists and photographers, most notable among them Charles Marville, to document the medieval spaces to be destroyed. Marville built upon the trajectory initiated by the photographers of the Missions Hliographiques. He photographed spaces that were already marked for destruction in order to preserve them in the archive, and like Baldus and Le Secq, he also photographed 53 The following chapter will deal with Haussmann ization and its effect on the collective memory and imagination of nineteenth-century Parisians in greater detail. 54 Anthony Sutcliffe, The Autumn of Central Paris ( London: Edward Arnold, 1970), 179. 39
demolitions and reconstructions. For Marville, emptiness on the streets was a side-effect of his desire to document the condition and morphology of the medieval streets accurately, as records for the archive; as such, the gap between pictorial representation (photograph) and lived experience (daily life) widened even further. His photographs emphasized the street's vacant appearance during a period when Paris was more crowded than it had ever been to that point. 55 By the 1870s, Marville's pictures of vieux Paris came to stand in as a replacements for areas of the city that no longer existed. T he self-proclaimed Photographe de la ville de Paris," Marville produced more than 400 views of threatened streets between 1865-68, all of which were housed in the archives at the Htel de Ville. The documentation project occurred in advance of the second stage of Haussmann's project, which was begun in 1865, and during which the bulk of clearance in congested areas took place. 56 Marville's original set of prints was destroyed in 1871 when the Htel de Ville burned during the eradication of the Commune. In 1873, the photographer offered to reprint the photographs, which he compiled into his Album du vieux Paris 57 The Impasse des Bourdonnais (Figure 8) is a representative example of Marville's pictures of the old Parisian streets facing demolition. In the center of the frame is a very 55 David Harvey, Paris, Capital of Mod ernity ( New York: Routledge, 2003), 95. Harve y has compiled a table of population growth based on Louis Chevalier's La Formation de la Population Parisienne au XIX Siecle (Paris: Institut national d'tudes dmographique, 1950). According to this data, between 1831 and 1861 the population of Paris grew from 861,436 to 1,696,141, effectively doubling in thir ty years. 56 Charles Marville, Paris Marie de Thezy, ed. ( Paris: Hazan, 1994), 289. The first stage was the construction of the grand crossing of Paris, the north-south arterial boulevards, Boulevard de S bastopol and Boulevard Saint-Michel and the extension of the Rue de Rivoli. The s econd stage, begun in 1865, several years behind schedule, opened up smaller areas abutting the main boulevards. The third stage was primarily concerned with the area surrounding the Op ra. 57 Ibid., 10. It is unknown whether the views included in the album were exactly those from the Htel de Ville, or if there was any attempt at curation based on knowledge of the events that occurred between the exposure and the second printing. 40
narrow, blind medieval alley. Marville's chosen point of view is rather low to the ground, and the vertically-oriented frame is filled by hulking buildings that extend through the top of it. On the left, the edge of another building reinforces the sense of claustrophobia and closeness of this street corner. Buildings close in on all sides blocking out sunlight. The insalubrious alley is dank with standing water or sewage, and the shiny wet cobblestones give the impression that this is not simply a temporary condition. Through his formal choices, Marville unequivocally pointed to everything needing amelioration via Haussmann's overhaul: narrow streets with runnels of sewage, hulking buildings blocking out all light and preventing the circulation of air, spindly trees choked out by cobblestones, disused carts blocking the passage of traffic in a street that may have been too narrow for vehicular traffic regardless. Marville shows the old city made for foottraffic, not one suited for the fast-paced interchange of capitalistic commerce. Marville's method consisted of exposing the wet collodion-coated glass negative to light for three to twelve seconds of light, likely with the camera's aperture stopped down to its smallest opening. 58 The photographer exposed his shots to preserve details in the shadows a necessary decision since one constant criticism of the medieval city was the darkness of the narrow streets. In the Impasse des Bourdonnais there is much detail in the shadows. In the foreground one sees the trash in the gutters and the demarkation between cobblestones. As the eye travels back into the recesses of the street, the dark shutters and lamp are clearly visible as well as the door and passage that terminates the 58 A small ap erture requires longer shutter speeds because less light is passing through the lens to the sensitized plate. The use of a small or stopped-down aperture setting allows for deep focus or depth of field everything within the picture, foreground, midground and background, would be in focus. However the stopped down aperture was equally related to control of exposure time as it was to the creation of deep focus. 41
42 Figure 8. Impasse des Bourdonnais. Charles Marville, 1865-1868. Positive print from glass negative, Bibliothque Historique de la Ville de Paris, Paris.
view. Likewise, the pylons along the base of the two buildings lining the alley remain legible through the length of the alley. Had Marville opened the aperture wider, allowing in more light and therefore accommodating a faster shutter speed, the inhabitants of the streets may have been recorded, but detail in the physiognomy of the street would have been lost. Since Marville's job was to create images of the streets as they were subjected to Haussmann's plan the details in stone and iron that were going to be destroyed these formal choices are justified. Marville's concern was not the individuals in each neighborhood, but rather the physiognomy of the buildings and streets themselves. Significantly, it is also with Marville's work that quotidian structures were officially photographed specifically for placement in the archives. Until this point, the main concern for official preservationist entities had been the great architecture of France: Gothic cathedrals, monarchal ch teaux the remains of Roman engineering, and prehistoric megaliths. Sites of historical significance were prioritized, specifically, those sites acting as a tangible and material link to the accomplishments of the past. 59 Nesbit describes the antiquarians of Paris at this time as collectors and protectors of fragments of history in the architecture of the city. They had no specific project in mind, rather they saved these fragments for this unstated effort to be taken up by future historians who would make sense of the traces they perceived. 60 In this way, Marville's views of ordinary quartiers are examples of a paradigm shift in terms of what was imagined to be valuable for preservation for future generations: not only monuments and cathedrals, but also apartments and alleys. 59 Boyer, "La Mission Hliographique," 26. 60 Nesbit, Seven Albums, 62. 43
Preservation Aesthetic as Milieu de M moire To this point, I have explained several possible significations of emptiness in a photograph of an urban space, focusing primarily on the formal manner by which space was represented by nineteenth-century photographers. After introducing the prototype for urba n photography, Daguerre's Boulevard du Temple, I examined the work of Le Secq, Baldus, and Marville separately, even though their careers overlapped, to present different interpretations of a photographic convention. Throughout the period of citywide transformation initiated by the Second Empire, empty streets in photographs could be assigned different significations depending on the sympathies and desires of the viewer. In other words, rather than acting as visual restrictions allowing only one reading, the aesthetic code was permeable, fluid, open to manipulation. I have attempted to contextualize both the photographic practice and the areas within which the photographers worked as milieux de mmoire living environments of memory as opposed to sites of history. According to Nora's construction of the lieu de mmoire, there must occur a point of rupture, a disturbance in collective memory in relation to photography and in relation to the city itself, transforming a mutable milieu de mmoire into the codified aesthetic evident in Atget's photographs. In the next chapter, I turn to an analysis of the actual changes taking place in Paris. Atget's pictures, if lieux de mmoire are dependent on both mode of representation, the preservation aesthetic I have identified, and subject matter, namely old Paris, which had become rare and overdetermined because of the public works projects of the Second Empire. In the following chapter, I examine the period 44
beginning with Haussmann's urban destruction until the Prussian invasion and the Paris Commune, roughly 1860-1871, as a period when there was a perceptible change both in terms of Parisian conception of the old city and in photographic practice. 45
CHAPTER TWO: RUPTURE IN COMMUNAL MEMORY AND SOCIAL PRACTICE: HAUSSMANNIZATION, THE PRUSSIAN SIEGE AND THE PARIS COMMUNE In twentieth-century analyses of pre-Haussmann Paris, it is not unusual for Marville's photographs to be used as pictorial examples transparently representing the conditions of the city. For instance, Albert Boime illustrates the following point with a Marville photograph of an empty street: "The concentration of the insurgent working classes in the central and eastern districts of Paris facilitated the construction of the barricade system that exploited the narrow, winding, densely crowded streets of Old Paris." 61 Marville's photographs, for instance, the Rue des Moulins (Figure 9), fail to give evidence of the dense crowd of inhabitants that populates every contemporary written account of the city. The Parisian street is completely desolate and the image could not be any more different from the written descriptions of Paris from the same period. In this chapter, I change direction to analyze the manner by which Haussmannization, the Siege of Paris and the Commune initiated a transformation in Parisians' perception of their local streets. I pose a point of rupture in Parisians' perceived relation to their own city, and a subsequent shift in photographic tradition. These two alterations both in the Parisians' imagined place in their city and of photographic representations of themselves within their city are crucial to my argument and to the 61 Albert Boime, Art in an Age of Civil Struggle, 1848-1871 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), 581. 46
47 Figure 9. Rue des Moulins. Charles Marville, 1865-1868. Positive print from glass negative, Bibliothque Historique de la Ville de Paris, Paris.
development of lieux de mmoire. I propose that it is the preservation aesthetic I have described in the first chapter, in concert with the old streets of Paris as subject matter, that was a lieu de mmoire by Atget's time. Nora's framework specifies that sites of memory ( lieux de mmoire ) can only form when living memory ( milieu de mmoire ) metamorphoses in such a way as to leave relics of a former practice, which reappear later as phantoms of their original meaning. Therefore, there must be an event or determining factors that renders a former practice or habit as something whose time has passed. I will highlight two particularly disruptive moments that interrupted social and photographic tradition. Haussmannization changed Parisians' conception of their city in such a way as to create a longing for the medieval city, despite its unsuitability for modern life. The Siege and Commune, 1870-71, led to a brief reversal in the power structure of Paris, largely by the working class, overturning some of the social stratifications that were the result of Haussmannization. This inversion manifests in photographs of working-class Parisians and their neighborhood barricades during the Commune. There already exists a body of scholarship of considerable breadth and depth dedicated to investigating how Haussmann's urban overhaul affected the living memory of quartier practices, and how the war subsequently ended the materialistic culture of the Second Empire. 62 Despite the wide range of theoretical approaches, scholars agree that 62 See, for instance, T.J. Clark, The Painting of Modern Life ; Hollis Clayson, Paris in Despair: Art and Everyday Life under Siege, 1870-71 (C hicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002); Elizabeth Emery, "Protecting the Past: Albert Robida and the Vieux Paris Exhibit at the 1900 World's Fair," Journal of European Studies 35(1): 65-85; Norma Evenson, "Paris, 1890-1940" in Metropolis 1890-1940, ed. Anthony Sutcliffe (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1984); Romy Golan, "France Revisited: Landscape as Lieu de Mmoire i n Modernity and Nostalgia: Art and Politics in France between the Wars (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995); David Harvey, Paris, Capital of Modernity (New York: Routledge, 2003); David P. Jordan "Haussmann and Haussmannisation : The Legacy for Paris," French Historical Studies 27 no. 1 (2004): 87-113; Christopher Mead, "Urban Contingency and the P roblem of Representation in Second Empire Paris"; Jeannene M. Przyblysk i, "Revolution at a Standstill: Photography and the Paris Commune of 1871," Yale French Studies 101 (2001): 54-78 and 48
the continuous state of demolition in Paris between 1851 and 1870, when Napoleon III surrendered to the Prussians at Sedan, ending the Second Empire, irrevocably altered the manner by which Parisians' imagined their place within the city. Since T. J. Clark and others have established that this was a particularly traumatic and contentious period in terms of the social space of Paris, I seek to explicate how these cataclysmic events affected habits and practices leading to the formation of lieux de mmoire. My interest, then, is twofold. First, tracing Haussmann's critics' nostalgic vision of the old sections of the city will set the stage for examining the reoccurrence of this vision in the context of the Third Republic. Second, considering a divergence in photographic practice during the Commune, when social structures inverted for a short time, will provide a contrast to the preservation aesthetic, which I traced in the first chapter, and which returns in Atget's work. Part I: Haussmann's Disruption of Everyday Life Haussmannization ushered in the modern era in Paris and with it Parisians experienced fragmentation, isolation, and alienation that is assumed to have not existed prior. 63 To this point, I have only discussed Haussmannization in terms of Marville's "Moving Pictures: Photography, Narrative, and the Paris Commune of 1871" in Cinema and the Invention of Modern Life, Leo Charney and Vanessa Schwartz, eds. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995); Kristin Ross, The Emergence of Social Space ( Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988); Richard Terdiman, Present Past: Modernity and the Memory Crisis (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993). 63 Equally common as the refrain that Haussmannization initiated modern, fragmented life in Paris is the argument that at some point prior to this, generally thought to be before the loss of peasant culture, memory and social orders were whole. I want to temper this with the observation by Terdiman, Nora, and others, that "people [reconstruct] the prehistory of their new environment in the effort to naturalize it. They were involved in an effort of memory that made the very lack of transparency of the past a conscious focus of concern." (Terdiman, Present Past, 6). Therefore, the researcher must be conscious of the fact that in the face of great upheaval, even primary sources may not be relied upon, since these very individuals, in their attempt to make sense of the present, may have reimagined and re-presented the past. 49
pictures of the sites to be destroyed. Though maligned by many, Haussmann's grands travaux were in fact necessary for the survival of Paris. The most readily-cited reason among historians, late-nineteenth and twentieth-century scholars alike, for scrubbing and breaking up the old quartiers was to prevent further revolutions and barricade-building; perhaps this was anticipated to be a beneficial side-effect for the Emperor and his prefect. In reality, however, the necessity for an urban overhaul was not simply born of an effort to prevent future insurrections. The urban construction projects, not only the neighborhood alterations which take priority for my purposes, but also the sewers, fountains, parks, monuments, gas lamps, schools, churches, immeubles railways, administrative buildings, and telegraph network, were essentially grand-scale public works projects that normalized France's economy, at least for a while, and improved living conditions immeasurably. While much criticism of Haussmann was well-founded, those who focused solely on the image or form of the new city were helping to construct a romantic, nostalgic version of old Paris that would reappear in a wide-reaching form later. 64 This section will focus on that nostalgia; therefore I will rely heavily on Clark for the foundation he provides. I will build on Clark's argument by linking the nostalgia he identifies with the subsequent fear that the quartier would be abandoned. My ultimate goal is to create a clear correspondence between nostalgia and a rhetoric of emptiness that will manifest in Atget's photographs in the Third Republic. 64 Clark cites ve ry colorful criticisms, but the length of my study does not allow me to quote them all as Clark does. Clark's comprehensive list includes mile Zola, Victor Hugo, Louis Lazare, Edmond and Jules Goncourt, Honor de Balzac, Edmond Texier, Victorien Sardou, Privat d'Anglemont, Charles Yriarte, Victor Fournel, Eug ne Peletan, N. Sheppard, L. Marie, and anonymous pamphleteers (26-46). Additionally, Sutcliffe lists the Marquis de Laborde, Ferdinand de Lasteyrie, and M.F. De Guilherny as other outspoken critics of Haussmann (184-85). 50
Pictures of old Paris, such as Rue des Moulins only give a partial sense of the condition of old Paris. Since Marville focuses on the morphology of the street itself, the viewer does not see the condition of individual structures, nor is one privy to the living culture of the neighborhood. More significantly, photographs cannot communicate the loud noise, oppressive stench, or the ubiquitous crush of traffic described in written accounts of the experience of Paris. Since I have historicized the appearance of these photographs as a convention, not to be taken for a transparent window into old Paris of the 1860s, we must append the image with textual descriptions to construct a fuller representation of the old streets. Consider the reactions of three visitors to Paris who experienced a city in need of expansion long before Napoleon III took office. Firstly, the unnamed Secretary to Girolamo Lippomano, Veniatian ambassador to France, notes the overcrowded conditions of Paris when he wrote between 1577 and 1579: On the squares themselves one sees small shops of wood built by poor people who do the humblest jobs to survive. So that there is no part of the city that can be called vacant  in a few years, everything will be covered with houses; indeed, they are already and continuously building. 65 Giovanni Paolo Marana, an Italian noble, describes a similar scene in 1692, more than a century after the Venetian ambassador's secretary wrote of his visit. Concerning Paris, I don't know where to begin to paint for you a picture of a city whose inhabitants are lodged even on the bridges of the river and on the roofs of houses  This great city is the seat of tumult, and 65 Extract ed and translated from Viaggio del signor Girolamo Lippomano, ambasciator in Francia nell'anno 1577, scritto dal suo secretario," in Niccol Tommaseo ed. Relations des ambassadeu rs venetiens sur les affaires de France au XVI e sicle (Paris: Imprimerie Rolaye, 1838) in Robert W. Berger, ed. In Old Paris (New York: Italica Press, 2002), 55-56. 51
since you want a sort of description of it, I shall begin with the perpetual movement that reigns here day and night. 66 Marana describes the constant din of the city from church bells, carriages, and street peddlers. Furthermore, he describes the unsanitary nature of the streets: "Though it may not be raining, one can't help often walking in mud; they throw all the filth in the street, but the vigilance of the magistrates isn't sufficient to have them cleaned." 67 Finally, Nikolai Mikhailovich Karamzin, a celebrated Russian writer who sojourned in Paris for three months in 1790, again describes a city already at capacity and suffering for it. Soon we entered the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, but what did we see? Narrow, filthy, muddy streets, miserable houses, and ragged people.  What is Paris? It is not enough to call it the first city in the world, capital of splendor and enchantment. Stop here, if you do not wish to change your opinion, for if you go farther you will see crowded streets, an outrageous confusion of wealth and poverty. Close by a glittering jewelry shop, a pile of rotten apples and herrings  The picture of a splendid city grows dim in your thoughts, and it seems to you that the dirt and muck of all the cities in the world is flowing through the cities of Paris  Thus you must call Paris the most magnificent and most vile, the most fragrant and most fetid city. 68 These three men describe a city that had been stretched to its limits for centuries, in terms of space for its ever-growing population, its stressed infrastructure, and its unsanitary conditions. In the years leading up to the Second Empire, the situation in Paris became even more grim as people continued to pour in from the provinces and as capitalism took hold. 66 First published as "Traduction d'une lettre italienne ecrite par un Sicilien a un de ses amis, contenant une critique agreable de Paris," in Charles Cotolendi, Saint Evremoniana, ou Dialogues des nouveaux dieux (Paris: M. Brunet, 1700) in Berger, In Old Paris 66. NB: Berger notes that eve n though the titl e of the letter indicates that Marana is Sicilian, he was in fact Genoese. Its length suggests the "letter" is meant to be an essay with both fictive and tru e elements, not an actual letter to a friend (58). 67 Ibid., 69. 68 Extracts from Letters of a Russian Traveler, 1789-1790, trans. and ed. Florence Jonas (New York: Columbia University Press, 1957) in Berger, In Old Paris 104-109. 52
When Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was elected president in 1848, Paris was experiencing an unprecedented period of overpopulation with the potential for catastrophic results. An influx of provincials, many of whom had lost their livelihood to harvest failures and floods in 1846-47, were moving into the city in search of new livelihoods, causing overcrowding in all parts of the city. Louis Chevalier describes a Paris that had quickly become unrecognizable to its inhabitants, as if a larger city had suddenly invaded its intimate medieval spaces, piling man on man and trade on trade, filling every nook and corner, making over the older dwellings of the nobility and gentry into workshops and lodging houses, erecting factories and stockpiles in gardens and courts where carriages had been moldering quietly away, packing the suddenly shrunken streets and the now overpopulated gothic graveyards, resurrecting and overloading the forgotten sewers, spreading litter and stench into the adjacent countryside. 69 Rulers since the seventeenth century had attempted to address the overcrowded and insalubrious condition of Paris piecemeal, with varying degrees of success, but none had attempted the necessary city-wide scheme which necessarily meant destroying large segments of the old city to make room for modernity. 70 David Harvey describes the economic situation in Paris in 1850 as a straightjacket binding the city surpluses of capital and labor were unable to come together profitably because older structures of manufacturing, commerce, finance, and labor relations could not reconcile the sophisticated methods of production and 69 Louis Chevalier, Laboring Classes and Dangerous Classes Trans. F. Jellinek (New York: Routledge, 1973), 45. 70 Prior to the nineteenth century, much of the improvement" to the urban fabric of Paris was in the forms of monuments to the ruler's own glory. Louis XIV created the grands boulevards on the right bank, from the foundations of the city walls, but focused the majority of his attention on Versailles. Louis XV added the Place de la Concorde and the Avenue des Champs Elyses. The Rue de Rivoli was begun by Napoleon, extended by Charles X, and finally completed in 1858 by Haussmann. 53
consumption brought about by capitalism. The second constraint was the medieval infrastructure of the city within which these practices functioned. 71 Like the city and its sporadic renovation since the seventeenth century, systems of production had been updated piecemeal, attempting to adapt old methods to new economic problems, rather than confronting a full-fledged overhaul. The revolution of 1848 had compounded these problems leading to a deep recession. Maxime du Camp compared the Parisian economy after 1848 to a patient in critical condition: "Industry, commerce, and finance had all fallen into a comatose state, near death. Though the forecasters preached confidence, we existed in a depressed anxiety from which we could not escape. Frightened capital (wealth) hid." 72 The economy needed to be resuscitated, but without revolutionizing the space within which it all operated, only stopgap measures would be applied. There were significant infrastructural obstacles preventing a capitalist economy from functioning correctly; in turn, the unhealthy national economy drew more people from the provinces to Paris and compounded the miseries of the already overpopulated city. 73 Critics of the form of Haussmann's Paris Among those who targeted Haussmann's funding methods, business practices, and the relocation of the working class to the banlieue there were those who also criticized 71 Harvey, Capital of Modernity 93-95. 72 My translation of the original French, L'industrie, le commerce, la finance taient tombs dans un tat comateux qui ressemblait de bien prs la mort. Les clairvoyants avaient beau prcher la confiance, on vivait dans une sorte d'inquitude somnolente dont on ne parvenait pas sortir. Le capital effray se cachait. Maxime du Camp, Paris, ses organes, ses fonctions et sa vie dans la seconde moiti du XIX e sicle (Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1870): 375. 73 Harvey, Capital of Modernity, 93-95. Only six bridges trav ersed the Seine in 1848 and those who wanted to cross had to pay tolls; winding narrow pedestrian streets formed inefficient and dangerous routes to the inadequate central market. Furthermore, department stores had begun to propagate a retail model over local artisanal craftsmanship. How would, for instance, a department store be commercially successful without an enormous city block to occupy, without direct roads to deliver cons umers to its door, or without the railroads to deliver raw materials from far-flung craftsmen. 54
the form that the new city would take. 74 In his canonical study of art in Paris during and after Haussmann, The Painting of Modern Life (1984), T.J. Clark explains,"those who looked back to the life of the quartier were fond of calling it the real Paris, which a false one was destroying." 75 Clark presents an extensive argument in this chapter that some of Haussmann's critics were responding to the disorienting experience of a city in flux. For instance, many critics, Victor Hugo included, focused their ire on what they thought would be the ultimate result of Haussmannization: the alignment and regularization of all the twisted streets in Paris. This created a mythic nostalgia for the medieval city, even as parts of it remained extant. For these critics, the real Paris was old Paris, already seen through the rosy lens of nostalgia even as Haussmann's work was continuing. Those who took up this line of attack preferring the charm of the medieval city over and above the new rational Paris left out the insalubrious conditions of the streets that had plagued the city for decades. Instead they focused on the form of the city, pitting the quaint and irregular old quartiers against the straight and uniform boulevards being constructed by Haussmann. For example, decades before Haussmann was prefect, Victor Hugo wrote a passage in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831) that disdainfully anticipated the regularity and symmetry for which Haussmannized Paris would become known. Add to these [structures whose purpose is not legible from the outside] many a pretty street, amusing and diversified, like the Rue de Rivoli; and we need not despair that Paris shall one day present, as seen in a balloon flight, that richness of outline and opulence of detail, that peculiar 74 Harvey, Capital of Modernity 99; Clark, The Painting of Modern Life, 43-46; Sutcliffe Autumn of Central Paris 184-85. 75 Clark, The Painting of Modern Life 60. 55
diversity of aspect, that something surpassingly grand in the simple and striking in the beautiful, which distinguishes a draught-board. 76 Hugo's criticism of the Rue de Rivoli, a project of Napoleon I, reveals an apprehension that the Paris of the near future will resemble a chessboard more than the "inextricable web of streets fantastically ravelled [to form] one complete whole" 77 and clearly indicates which form of urbanism he preferred. But his fear, though well-founded, was premature since the Rue de Rivoli would only be fully completed as part of Haussmann's projects. Likewise, Jules and Edmond Goncourt, writing as Haussmann was remaking the city, express a sense of disorientation within and alienation from the city they knew. "I am a stranger to what is coming, to what is, as I am to these new boulevards without turnings, without chance perspectives, implacable in their straight lines." 78 This focus on straight lines, and loss of chance perspectives was a common criticism of Haussmann. Charles Yriarte, writer for Paris-Guide in 1867 made an even more desperate claim, namely that The straight line has killed the picturesque, the unexpected  There are no more coats of many colours, no more extravagant songs and extraordinary speeches. The open-air dentist, the strolling musicians, the ragpicker philosophers, the jugglers, the Northern Hercules, the hurdygurdy players, the sickly snake-swallowers, and the men with seals who said 'papa' they have all emigrated. The street existed only in Paris and the street is dying. 79 Victor Hugo, Charles Baudelaire, mile Zola, and Jules and Edmond Goncourt, just to name some of the most well-known, all expressed anxiety over Haussmann's 76 Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1899), 199. 77 Hugo, Hunchback, 173. 78 Edmo nd and Jules Goncourt, Journal des Goncourts, vol. 1 (Paris, 1912): 346-46. Quoted in Clark, The Painting of Modern Life 35. 79 Charles Yriarte, "Les Types parisiens les clubs," Paris-Guide 2 (1867): 929. Quoted in Clark, The Painting of Modern Life 44. 56
reforms, and nostalgia for the old city, despite its known unsuitability for modern life. These men, in particular, were distressed by the form of new Paris straight lines, regularity, predictability, a seeming loss of chance and surprise that one would have found among the twisting warren of alleys that made up old Paris. Were the aesthetics of the new quartiers in comparison to the old really so disturbing? What exactly was the object of the nostalgic longing? What did the loss of these twisting passages really represent? Victorien Sardou, in his comedic play Maison neuve from 1866 gets to the essence of why the new boulevards were so disturbing. It is the old Paris that is lost, the real Paris! A city which was narrow, unhealthy, insufficient, but picturesque, varied, charming, full of memories.  Nothing left of the things which once constituted our own little world, a world apart; a world of expertise, judgement and refinement  Nevertheless, it isn't Parisand there are no Parisians any longer. 80 Paris was metaphorically destroyed because the form of the old city, and the memories contained within, was in danger. The familiar aspects of the city were what defined the real city for these individuals. The strange new shape of the neighborhoods, and the new people which would presumably inherit them defined a false Paris. I want to make clear, however, that not all Parisians experienced the nostalgia that Clark identifies, especially during the period on which he focuses as the new Paris was in the making, the early to middle 1860s Wholesale criticism of Haussmann's work was not yet a matter of popular public discourse, and would not become so until the 1880s and 1890s. David Harvey suggests that the literal and metaphorical dust had to settle 80 Victorien Sardou, Maison neuve, in Theatre complet de Victorien Sardou 9:274-75. Quoted in Clark, The Painting of Modern Life 42. 57
before Parisians could fully comprehend and (belatedly) resist Haussmannization. 81 According to Sutcliffe, the critics represented a minority of the Parisian population. "Most people admired Haussmann's boulevards, because at first they made a welcome change from the twisting tortuous maze of streets which had previously characterized central Paris." 82 It goes without saying that the new boulevards were a popular leisure destination for most Parisians, even for Baudelaire, whose opinion of the new streets was ambiguous at best. Though he mourned the passing of old Paris openly, he also praised the showcase of modern life on the new boulevards. For instance, Baudelaire's poem, "The Eyes of the Poor," while presenting a critique of boulevard culture, also indicates that rich and poor alike flocked to experience the spectacle of the new streets. Developing Connections between Empty Streets and Nostalgia What was the imagined result of Haussmannization on the old quartier s ? Surprisingly, it was not that the areas would be completely leveled and replaced with new structures. Instead the popular fear was that they would simply be emptied out of all social relations. Implicit within the sentimental observations by critics above is an underlying sense that Haussmann is killing the quartier not destroying it physically, but affecting a slow death, preventing the established social networks from functioning healthily. In Yriarte's article cited above, the list of bizarre street spectacles is exemplary of a healthy street. 83 Healthy neighborhoods, those of real Paris were mythologized into 81 Harvey, Capital of Modernity 99, and Sutcliffe, Autumn of Central Paris, 188-89. 82 Sutcliffe, The Autumn of Central Paris, 190. 83 Clark compiles a list from guidebooks and journals of the types of people, essentially forming a neighborhood network, one would expect to find on a healthy street in the 1850s: "Flower girls and faggot sellers; water carriers, errand boys, old-clothes dealers, organ grinders, pedlars, bailiffs, acrobats, wrestlers, rag-and-bone men, bill stickers, lamp-lighters, porters for the market and the shops, porters for hire by the hour; coachmen, window cleaners, dog washers and dog trimmers, knife grinders, booksellers, coal merchants, carters, prostitutes, odd-job men, glaziers, itinerant plumbers, menders of 58
veritable carnivals of activity, where constant interaction with colorful and banal personalities alike made up the fabric of daily existence. In the face of this characterization, then, the implications of empty streets are that the quartier is dead. An anonymous pamphleteer writing under the pseudonym "Haussmann's Jeremiah" warned the prefect about the image of the city that he was creating: "You will live to see the city desolate and bleak  The roads will then become gloomy and deserted  and solitude, the ancient goddess of the deserts, will come to preside over this new empire." 84 For critics who focused their ire on Haussmann's aesthetics, the sure outcome for the central quartiers was not just physical desolation, but social isolation. The question at hand, then, is how much did the quartiers in fact change after Haussmann was finished with the central city? Had the working class become completely exiled? Were the workshops closed for good? How different were the central neighborhoods after the dust had settled? According to Clark, the social structures of the quartier were not as different as residents had anticipated them to be. On the face of things, the new image [of Paris] did not look entirely different from the old ones. It still seemed to propose that the city was one place, in some sense belonging to those who lived in it. But it belonged to them now simply as an image something occasionally and casually consumed in spaces expressly designed for the purpose promenades, panoramas, outings on Sundays, great exhibitions, and official parades. It could not be had elsewhere, apparently; it was no longer part of those crockery or shoes; sellers of licorice water and lemon juice, of herbs, of baskets, umbrellas, shoelaces, chickweed, and whips; puppet shows, street singers, somnambulists, dogs that played dominoes, Scottish jugglers, baton twirlers, savages with stones round their necks, India-rubber men, and human skeletons. 'Sellers of ink, fish, potatoes by the bushel, peat, birdseed; chimneysweeps, saltimbanques charlatans, stone breakers, open-air jewelers, sixpenny stall holders; all of them shouting, singing, modulating their apostrophes and descanting their sonorous invitations on the scale that most sets one's teeth on edge.'" ( Painting of Modern Life, 50-51). Clark indicates that the guidebook writers and journalists attempt to outdo each other with the longest and most comprehensive list, which created a sense of liveliness on the streets that was exaggerated beyond reality (51). 84 Lamentations d'un Jeremie haussmannis (1864) cited in A. Morizet Du vieux Paris au Paris moderne: Haussmann et ses predecesseurs. (Paris, 1932): 290; quoted in Clark, 44. 59
patterns of action and appropriation which made up the spectators' everyday lives. 85 Clark describes the quartiers as being even more crowded after Haussmann than before flats were subdivided to make up for the dwellings that had been demolished, and workshops maintained their craft or trade. Not all working-class men and women were exiled to the banlieue which was another popular refrain of critics. 86 There was certainly drifting of residents who were obliged to relocate to the edge of the city, but this was tempered by the working class residents who obstinately refused to be displaced. 87 The appearance of emptiness and desolation of Marville's photograph, then, bespeaks a withdrawal and vacancy that was simply not representative of the reality of life in these areas at any point before, during, or after Haussmannization. I have argued that Marville's images are empty due to his choice to use a long shutter speed and stopped-down aperture to attempt to record the range of tones in the shadowy streets that he photographed. These photographs are in fact so empty and still that the residents of the neighborhood appear to have already vacated the condemned premises. One imagines the demolition crews to be waiting only for the photographer to cap his lens before tearing down the structures, as if the documentation and the destruction were carried out on the same day. 85 Clar k, 36. Incidentally, the language with which Clark describes the new image of Paris anticipates Nora's binary categorizations of milieu de mmoire and lieu de mmoire In this instance, the patterns of everyday life, and with that, the appropriation of urban space according to daily social relations was a very literal milieu de mmoire an environment of memory. City spaces, whether a park, a theater, a monument, a vocation, or an entire quartier were now designed for specific consumption rather than remaining an organic part of inhabitants' relations to their everyday spaces. 86 Clark identifies five loci on which most criticism of Haussmann focused: (1) his business practices were wasteful and dishonest, (2) the resulting new areas were regular, empty, and boring, (3) purposeful eviction of the working class from the city center, (4) in place of one Paris, Haussmann had made two by raising rents in the city too high for the working class, who then had to relocate to the banlieue (5) the new city was one of vice, vulgarity, and display. (43-46). 87 Ibid., 53. 60
Marville's images present a vision of old Paris as already desolate and vacated, which many critics believed would be the result of Haussmann's work in the central city. A bandoned streets would have been symptomatic of a dying neighborhood, and were what critics imagined and feared would be the results of Haussmann's work. The stark appearance of the streets in Marville's photographs, caused by long exposures to properly expose the plate for the dark passages, announces a metaphorical vacancy that was anticipated to be the real result of Haussmann's work. This connection relates Roland Barthes's perception of the future anterior tense of some photographs: this will be and this has been. If the public works projects of the Second Empire continued on the imagined trajectory, this will have happened 88 A rhetoric of empty neighborhoods, linked with a nostalgia for a way of life that had passed or was imagined to be passing away, was in place among literary circles even before Haussmann's projects had been completed, and before residents knew how, or whether, the new shape of Paris would be different from the old. Marville's photographic practice was not likely a direct response to pervasive rupture in social practice. The photographs themselves, however, eerily resonate with accusations by certain critics that Haussmann would kill the quartier and leave in his wake dead husks of the previous living neighborhood. 88 Barthes, Camera Lucida 96. I want to clarify this point by beginning to introduce the audience for these images which will be addressed more comprehensively in chapter three. I do not mean to suggest that Marville's images were in direct discourse with the literary critics Clark cites. Marville's images were not displayed to the public until the Exposition Universelle in 1878. While it is not impossible that some of the above critics saw images such as these in the archives, the primary viewers of Marville's photographs would have been officials of the state. Rather, I simply compare the two interpretations as a means by which to evidence how for later viewers in Atget's time, emptiness on the streets could be invested with nostalgia that was manifest in the 1860s. 61
Part II: The Terrible Year, 1870-71: The Prussian Siege of Paris and the Commune Clearly Haussmannization caused a rupture of sorts, if not in actual social practice as imagined by certain critics, at least in Parisians' manner of conceiving their relation to the spaces of their city. Coupled with Haussmann and Napoleon III in the popular memory of Parisians in the 1870s, is the Prussian Siege of Paris and the Commune, a literal disruption in the form of urban warfare. Victor Hugo declared, "Bismarck finished what Haussmann began," 89 expressing a common feeling that the Second Empire really ended when Paris was blockaded by the Prussians. Following Hollis Clayson's model for her book-length study of art during the Prussian Siege of Paris, Paris in Despair (2002) I examine a radical change in the visual representation of central-city neighborhoods and residents as a function of the condition of urban warfare. Furthermore, I suggest the possible implications of brief social and pictorial inversions. The photograph of a barricade at the Rue Faubourg Saint-Antoine (Figure 10) typifies a visual trope that developed during the Commune. 90 This is a significantly different image from the pictures of barricades from the 1848 revolt, for instance Barricades Before the Attack, Rue Saint-Maur (Figure 11). The daguerreotype did not register the builders or defenders of the barricade because of a long exposure and t he daguerreotype, which was photographed from a building, exhibited the panorama of the street from above. In contrast, the photographer of the group at the Rue Faubourg Saint89 Victor Hugo, Actes et paroles (Paris, 1875-7 6). Quo ted in Clark Painting of Modern Life, 46. 90 Christine Lapostolle, "De la barric ade la ruine," La recherche photographique 6 (June 1989): 21. Lapostolle identifies five themes of Commune photography: ruins of Paris, barricades, the fall of the Vendme Column, portraits of Communards after their imprisonment in Chantiers and Crimes de la Commune the set of photomontages published by Eug ne Appert after the suppression of the Commune. Each of these categories could be studied at length on their own, however for the length and focus of my study, I will only talk about barricade photos. 62
Antoine is at ground-level with the blockade. Formally, one might argue that the photograph is not radically different from Marville's. As in Marville's Rue des Moulins the camera is at street-level pointing down a canon-shot avenue with buildings on either side receding into deep space. Most obviously, though, t he barricade pictures show what is missing from Marville's photographs: the diverse residents of Paris populating their quartiers. 91 There are many oddities in this photograph, however, that strike the viewer as slightly off, almost theatrical. The men have assumed what they imagine to be military postures, pointing guns at the camera and blowing a trumpet for a rally cry, as if they would be fighting again as soon as the shutter snaps shut. The man in the center of the barricade appears to be leading a charge of the two rows of kneeling men arranged in an orderly, symmetrical way, so all are visible. Whereas in previous street photographs, people would continue about their daily business, walking through the frame but not pausing long enough to make a permanent impression on the emulsion, everyone in photographs like these defiantly stood their ground before the lens and faced the camera proudly, posturing and posing for the camera, and for history. No longer casual passersby, ignoring and being ignored by the camera, they purposefully inhabit their space, and also dictate how they will be remembered. Why did the revolutionaries of Paris devise this rather peculiar mode of photography for commemorating the Commune? More importantly, w hy was this visual code eradicated after the Commune? This turbulent 91 I find it important to qualify this image with a note about its su bjects. Though this Commune photo has only men in it, it is common for barricades to be populated with women, children, even pets within the photographs. My choice of this picture for discussion, instead of one with a more diverse social group, is equally due to availability of high-quality images, and the obvious theatricality of this picture. 63
64 Figure 10. Rue Faubourg Saint Antoine Anonymous. Bibliothque Historique de la Ville de Paris, Paris.
65 Figure 11. La Barricade de la rue Saint-Maur-Popincourt aprs l'attaque par les troupes du gnral Lamoricire, le lundi 26 juin 1848. Thibault, 26 June 1848. Daguerreotype, 12.7 x 10.4 cm. Muse D'Orsay, Paris.
period in Parisian history is complex and cannot be sufficiently analyzed here, but I will begin with a brief summary of the conflicts as they relate specifically to Parisian spaces. In the short span of one year, France saw the declaration of war against Prussia, the fall of the Second Empire and proclamation of a Government of National Defense in the infancy of the subsequent Third Republic, and the four-month long siege of Paris by the Prussians ending in capitulation by the interim government. Finally, there was the revolutionary Paris Commune, the unofficial and short-lived ruling entity that filled the power vacuum left by the deflated Government of National Defense. The Commune ended on May 28, 1871 when Parisians were brutally suppressed by the National Guard which had withdrawn to Versailles in March. Between twenty and forty thousand individuals were killed during the semaine sanglante in an attempt to eradicate the revolutionaries from the city. The Prussian Siege, which lasted from September 1870 to January 1871 was not a siege in the conventional sense; rather the Prussian army blockaded Paris for four months, keeping bourgeois and working-class residents alike sequestered without the food, supplies, information, and commodities that would normally flood the city. 92 Paris 92 Hollis Clayson notes the relative absence of photographs attributable to the period of the Siege itself. For the most part, photographers were either making portraits of men and women in uniform, the commuting soldiers, or attempting to image battlefields (370-71). I would also note several other possible factors for the lack of Siege photography. Firstly, Parisians attempted to go about their daily life during the Siege to the extent possible. Until the bombardments began, less than a month before Thiers surrendered, there would have been no changes to the urban spaces of Paris as a result of the Siege. Secondly, Paris was unable to receive supplies from outlying areas for five months. Once photographic chemistry was depleted, there would be no replenishment. The lack of images could simply mean that there were no materials for recording such. David Shafer relates a peculiar anecdote that may account for a reduction in supplies: rehydrated albumin was reportedly used as an egg substitute during the food shortages ( The Paris Commune, [New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005], 49). Thirdly, since the Commune literally followed on the heels of the Siege, many of the photographs of Paris in ruins taken after the suppression of the Commune stand in for the destruction of both events as one single period of war. 66
alone was isolated from the rest of the country creating a strong sense of solidarity among those who had not fled the city before access was severed. Alisa Luxenberg explains that during the Siege, class may have been a less divisive issue than at other times: "Seeing their better-off neighbors also reduced to eating rats and suffering other privations instilled in many Parisians a sense of solidarity against the Prussians making the siege as well as the French government that later betrayed them in order to win the provincial vote." 93 Not all scholars support this utopian view that social strata essentially melted away during the Siege. David Shafer argues that the relative availability or scarcity of food during the Siege was an matter of class. 94 The print subtitled "Preparing for the defence [sic] of Paris" (Figure 12) is perhaps a more realistic scenario, where the bourgeoisie lend their "moral support" by watching the rare spectacle of workers preparing the fortifications. The Prussian army did not expect Parisians to hold the city for as long as they did. When isolation did not work, the Prussians began attacking the city in earnest, launching projectiles beginning in early January, 1871. Again the invading army did not anticipate Parisians' fierce defense of their city and resistance to surrender. 95 Victor Hugo, having returned to Paris from exile just before it had been completely closed off, addressed the people of Paris in a manner indicating a personal identification with the very urban fabric 93 Alisa Luxenberg, "Creating Dsas tres : Andrieu's Photographs of Urban Ruins in the Paris of 1871," The Art Bulletin 80 no. 1 (1998): 114; Shafer, Paris Commune, 50. 94 Shafer proposes that the infamous consumption of the animals at the Jardin des Plantes, the Paris Zoo, was not necessary to prevent starvation of Parisians. He admits that killing the animals was a humane way to prevent the animals starvation, but that food scarcity had not reached a level critical enough to make the consumption of the menagerie necessary for people's survival. Rather, he argues that it was a novelty for the bourgeois to eat the exotic animals, "a reification of their privileged position within the social hierarchy." Shafer, Paris Commune, 50. 95 Ibid., 52. 67
68 Figure 12. Preparing for the defence of Paris Anonymous etching. Collection of Stephen Holder, published in Joanna Richardson, Paris Under Siege (London: The Folio Society, 1982), 112 (facing page)
of their home: "We are no longer flesh, we are stone. I no longer know my name, I am called France, Paris, wall!" 96 During the Siege, then, there was an intense personal identification by Parisians of all classes with the brick-and-mortar of Paris to be safeguarded at all costs. Adolphe Thiers, President under the interim Government of National Defense, capitulated to the Prussian forces on January 28, 1871 ending the siege and instituting an uneasy peace, during which Paris was opened again to trade and communication. After a symbolic two-day occupation of Paris by Prussian troops, Thiers attempted to relieve Parisians of the guns and canons they still held. The Comit Central, the political party which spurred the revolution, declared that the army had no rights to the arms because they had been cast and paid for by the Parisian population. This was the impetus for revolt the Comit Central had been waiting for, and they wasted no time initiating the Paris Commune, the three month experiment in municipal self-rule by a primarily working class population. 97 It would be safe to say that one goal of Parisian Communards was to reclaim the city after the injustices they experienced at the hands of the Second Empire. According to Shafer, d uring Haussmannization Paris's working class was a consideration only to the extent that the make-over would lead to greater control over the banlieue and greater difficulties for insurgents to erect barricades across the wide boulevards. In fact, one of the chief motivations for the transformation was to make Paris more hospitable to the bourgeoisie  Rents rose exponentially, driving the working population further away from central Paris and 96 Joanna Ric hardson, Paris Under Siege (London: The Folio Society, 1982), 61 97 The bourgeoisie had largely fled the city after the Siege, seemingly in anticipation of the civil war that was to fol low. See Przy blyski, "Moving Pictures," 256; Boime, Art in an age of civil struggle, 738. 69
towards its periphery, increasing their commuting time while literally and figuratively shifting them to the margins of Parisian life. 98 Many scholars argue that the Commune represented the workers' desire to reoccupy the city from which some had been evicted. 99 In a footnote, Clark quotes J. Rougerie's musings about the purpose of the Commune at its inception: "The Commune of 1871 will be in large part the retaking of central Paris, the true Paris  by the exiles of the quartiers extrieurs of Paris by its true Parisians, the reconquest of the City by the City." 100 The rhetoric of a 'true Paris' and 'true Parisians,' in opposition to the false ones that had been set in place during the Second Empire, is reminiscent of the longings of Haussmann's critics for a quartier that retains its long-standing social relations. Likewise, it is expressive of Communards' pride of place, of longing for their neighborhood network, whether they had been personally forced to move to the banlieue or not. The barricade photographs represent a momentary change in photographic practice, a hybridized photo with signifiers of group-portraiture, street view, and costume tableau, that would not have manifested without a significant upending of the established social relations and conception of their place in the city. In her excellent essay "Moving Pictures: Photography, Narrative, and the Paris Commune of 1871," Jeannene Przyblyski suggests that these photographs represent the beginnings of a reportage sensibility, or the attempts by the photo's commissioners and producers to record events as they occur, and to develop a visual language for communicating the immediacy of historical events as 98 Shafer, The Paris Commune, 11. 99 See Boime, Art in an age of Civil Struggle, 738; Przyblyski, "Moving Pictures," and "Revolution at a Standstill," 64. 100 Clark, The Painting of Modern Life 276 n61. 70
they happen. "[T]hese photographs speak to the growing tendency throughout the 1860s and 1870s to turn the camera upon contemporary events, as well as to the popular desire that the camera, cumbersome and slow as it was, be there as significant happenings were occurring." 101 In short, they are intentionally laying claim to what Przyblyski calls "a place of visibility in the iconography of urban Paris." 102 Not only did the inhabitants finally assert their presence on their streets, literally and photographically, they also justified their right to be pictured therein, in whatever manner they chose. Agency of Subjects in Barricade Photographs The barricade photograph exists at the intersection of posed portrait and historical document. 103 Through what Przyblyski terms "narrative compression," all of the key elements in the story of the Commune are present within these barricade photographs to attempt defining a significant moment or a photographic shorthand. First, the barricade, the uniquely Parisian symbol of insurrection, protects individual streets and homes from menacing, and historically governmental, forces. The barricade is built from the street where they stand, with whatever material is around, lending it symbolic force as the physical fabric of the neighborhood protects them. 104 Secondly, the people. They dress in brass-buttoned jackets, pointing their weapons at the camera, or perhaps the viewer, making it clear that none whom they do not wish will pass. One is under the impression that if the man on top of the barricade drops his arm, the troop will fire, placing the 101 Przyblyski, "Moving Pictures," 256-57. 102 Przyblyski, "Re volution at a Standstill," 57-58. 103 Przyblyski, "Moving Pictures," 257. 104 The barricades were likely only symbols at this point, because the canon had been invented in 1830, and would make short work of breaking down the obstruction. Additionally, Przyblyski cites an anecdote reported by Maxime DuCamp that it was not unusual for a group to erect a barricade for no other purpose than to have a photograph made, after which it would be dismantled. "Revolution at a Standstill," 59. 71
viewer in a precarious position. Thirdly, the neighborhood stretched behind the barricade. This is why they are fighting, to protect their street, their home, their families. The story, then, is clear. Should it be necessary, these individuals will give their lives to protect their place in the city. Bourgeois critics of photography, especially Baudelaire, thought that photography would lower the standards of art as it fell into the hands of ordinary working people. However, photographic portraits were not, during the Second Empire, something that washer women, dmolisseurs or street vendors could generally afford. Photographic portraits were primarily a way for the bourgeoisie to represent themselves. 105 When these workers were made visible in photographs, the most common way of picturing them was in their work uniform, with the tools of their trade, recreating a taxonomy of modern "worker types" that would have been familiar to viewers of popular prints. 106 (Figure 13) Therefore, by and large, until the Commune, working class individuals had only been photographed by the bourgeoisie, who reproduced well-known visual codes that reinforced the class divisions among them. Barricade photographs allowed the predominately working-class Communards to represent themselves on their own terms and on their own turf. The Communards were aware that pictures could also be a site of resistance, exerting their presence in the face of a long and conspicuous absence. In her seminal essay on African-American photography, "In Our Glory," bell hooks writes, All colonized and subjugated people who, by way of resistance, create an oppositional 105 Ibid., 62-63 106 Boime, Art in an Age of Civil Struggle, 739. 72
73 Figure 13. L'Acquaiuolo. Charles Negre, 1852. Positive print from wax paper negative, 213 x 157 cm. Collection of Andr Jammes, published in Aperture 15 no. 1, French Primitive Photography (1969). This is also the catalog for the Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibition by the same name.
subculture within the framework of domination, recognize that the field of representation [. .] is a site of ongoing struggle." 107 When a colonizer, or anyone exerting power over another group, controls how the group is represented, the subjected will never gain power. The ability for Communards to picture themselves and each other as individuals rather than as caricatures or generalized types, formed a site of resistance and a disruption of bourgeois control over the working class. Just as Communards desired to exert their presence in the city, so the trope of barricade portraits emphasized their presence, their unwillingness to abandon their neighborhood, and their decision to represent themselves in government, and in images. At this juncture the urban spaces of Paris were owned and defended by local inhabitants as spaces of contestation. Rather than nostalgically pining after old buildings that had been destroyed, they simply took over that which remained, albeit for a very brief period, and tried to remake the city in their image. 108 Likewise, their photographs of themselves, of each other, make the same claim for pictures they no longer wanted to be peripheralized or represented as motion smudges, a visual sacrifice or mechanical aberration that viewers simply accepted as a shortcoming of the photographic process. 109 They attempted to move from a the realm of invisibility to one of presence, assertion, and entitlement. Photography allowed the Communards to 107 bell hooks, "In Our Glory," in Picturing Us: African American Identity in Photography ( New York: New Press, 1994): 46. 108 Before the Commune was crushed, they performed numerous acts that have historically been called vandalis m, but that indicate the desire for remaking a less stratified Paris. The Vendme Column, a monument to Napoleon I was pulled down as a despised commemoration of values to which the Communards did not subscribe. Clark argues that the vandalism in the city during 1870 and 1871 was a reaction against the new image of Paris. He groups actions against effigies of the Emperor and Empress, the effacement of "Boulevard Haussmann" on a street sign, the smashing of street furniture and the ruin of a map of Paris drawn up by Napoleon, Haussmann, and their engineers as a direct and pointed reaction to their urban planning scheme that had destroyed old Paris. Painting of Modern Live, 41-42 109 Przyblyski, "Moving Pictures," 256. 74
commemorate their actions, to memorialize the solidarity they had with those in their own quartier, and to make claims about their place within the city. This pictorial mode was very much a product of its time, its place, and its subjects. It originated because these people had a statement to proclaim, and they recognized the power of place and of images in communicating their cause. The leaders of the Third Republic recognized this as well, and began censoring the images, invoking a law from 1852 requiring commercial prints to be approved by the Dpt Lgal before they could be distributed or sold. 110 The lengths to which the Third Republic went to suppress the memory of these events, to be considered in the next chapter, provides an unspoken acknowledgement of the symbolic potency of these images and of the ideology of their producers. 110 Luxenberg, "Creating Dsastres ," 116. 75
CHAPTER THREE : EUG NE ATGET, VIEUX PARIS, AND LIEUX DE M MOIRE Formally, Atget's style seems to be an organic extension of that of the nineteenthcentury photographers introduced in the first chapter of this study. Indeed, Atget and Marville are often grouped together as individuals working during the early days of photography. 111 However, Atget created the majority of the work for which he is well known in the first three decades of the twentieth century, nearly one hundred years after Daguerre's Rue du Temple and more than fifty years after Marville's photographs for the archives of the Second Empire. The pairing of Atget and Marville, while slightly ahistorical, is not without merit. In fact, Atget's project shared the same concerns as that of Marville: to document and preserve for the archive the state of the city before it changed irrevocably. Atget's picture of the H tel de Sens (Figure 14), a fifteenth-century h tel particulier in the Marais, is from his second series, "Art in Old Paris." 112 He started this series in 1897-98 and continued adding to it until 1927. It was the largest serial group and generally documented the unique architecture and decoration of old Paris. The clientele 111 It is primarily non-specialists wh o subscribe to this incorrect assumption, which supports my argument. Based on formal similarities only, both Marville and Atget reproduce the look of very early photography, when street motion was erased due to technological limitation. See for instance: Elisabeth Parimet, "Diplomatics and Institutional Photos." American Archivist 59 (Fall 1996): 484 and George Baker, "Photography between Narrativity and Stasis," October 76 (Spring 1996): 82. 112 According to the Bibliothque National de France, the negative number for this image is 3658. There is a seeming discrepancy in Hambourg's explanation of the catalog numbers for the Art in Old Paris series; it is unclear whether the series began with the negative numbered 3000 or 3500 ( see Hambourg "Eug ne Atget, 1857-1927: The Structure of the Work," pp 112 and 118 respectively). In either case, this photograph was made relatively early in the history of this serial group since by 1927 th e group ended with negative number 6721. 76
77 Figure 14. Htel de Sens, Rue de Fauconnier Eugne Atget, 1899. Albumen print from glass negative, 20.5 x 17.5 cm. Bibliothque National de France, Paris.
for these images were artists, artisans and architects who needed historical models, as well as public institutions, publishers, and private collectors. 113 Atget composed the image nearly frontally with the structure situated comfortably within the frame, the best vantage point for appreciating the unique architectural details of the building. Atget accentuated the morphological aspects that rendered this htel valuable namely the peaks of the turrets and pointed arches by the upward-tilt of the camera. The height of the building is accentuated by an ample foreground and empty street stretching toward the viewer and a street-level point of view. Despite its innocuous composition and subject matter, I argue that this photograph embodies several key themes that contribute to my argument. The convergence of these numerous and interrelating motifs contribute to both the signification of the photograph to its contemporary viewers and to its existence as a lieu de mmoire. In order to approach an understanding of what this photograph signified to contemporary viewers, and how Atget reproduced and manipulated the conventions of street photography, one must consider both the popular fin-desicle revival of interest in medieval history and the role of photographic documents in nineteenth-century France. The medieval revival manifested in innumerable ways, not the least of which was interest in authentic architecture, reproductions of medieval objects, and themed medieval spectacles. Furthermore, medieval culture and its physical remnants, in the form of buildings, stories, or objects, were popularly imagined to be able to transmit moral lessons from the originating culture to an open-minded reader. Photo-documents participated in this imagined access to past cultures in a similar manner. I will continue to 113 Hambourg, "Structure," 112. 78
return to this photograph throughout the chapter as I enumerate how Atget's interpretation of the Htel de Sens participates directly in this popular interest in all aspects of vieux culture and as I consider the naturalization of photographs as containers of knowledge. Part One: Architecture as Containers of Knowledge and Memory The unpleasant task of reunifying the splintered residents of Paris fell to the largely conservative leaders of the Third Republic. The new regime had to recover not only from the war with Prussia, but also from the progressive reforms successfully instituted by the Paris Commune: the separation of church and state, equality among male and female workers, and expanded rights for the working class, among them. One strategy to garner support for a more controlled and disciplined ideology was the demonization of the Second Empire a regime that many felt was characterized by hedonistic excess and materialism. The leaders of the Third Republic, some of whom were so conservative that they wanted to reinstitute a monarchy, needed to distance their own policies from those of both the Second Empire and the short-lived but liberal Commune. Concurrently, they needed to complete some of the public works projects initiated by Napoleon III. The symbolic link designating Napoleon III as a scapegoat for the horrors of the Siege and Commune was no t a difficult one to forge. For instance, the burned-out shell of the Tuileries Palace was left standing until 1883 more than a decade after the suppression of the Commune. The city was left with a concrete reminder of the disastrous end of the Second Empire in the ruins of the Tuileries Palace. The decision to delay clearance of the ruin could be interpreted two ways. Most obviously, it is a reminder of 79
the consequences of insurrection: the Tuileries Palace, the Htel de Ville, where all of the city's public records had been stored, and other sites throughout Paris were torched during the street fighting that ended the Commune. But the husk could also function as a moralizing monument to the excess of the Second Empire. The integration of the Tuileries and Louvre into one super-palace was the former Emperor's pet project, yet after all the modernization, the place lay in ruins. According to historian Colette Wilson, many who li ved through the events of 1870-71 saw the Commune as the "final bloody and apocalyptic conclusion to the fall of the Second Empire." 114 Wilson cites a series of articles published in 1878 in Le Monde illustr a conservative journal, which further helped to cement the symbolic link between the destruction wrought by Haussmann and Napoleon III and that by the Siege and Commune in French, and particularly Parisian, popular imagination. 115 These articles, pseudonymously written by "Walker," contrast the orderly, moral, rational Paris repaired by the Third Republic with the decadent and illusory climate under Napoleon III. Public works projects, like the construction of new schools, hospitals, churches, libraries, and the continued modernization of old quartiers were highlighted for readers as improvements for the city rather than projects for monetary gain, a pointed reference to what had become the most popular motivation for the works of the Second Empire. 116 It is a seeming paradox that Haussmann's modernization schemes were demonized even during their completion under the Third Republic. The Third Republic appropriated 114 Colette Wilson, "Memory and the Politics of Forgetting: Paris, the Commune and the 1878 Exposition Universelle." Journal of European Studies 35 no. 1 (2005): 48. See also David Harvey, "The Building of the Basilica of Sacr -Coeur," in Paris, Capital of Modernity (New York: Routledge, 2006), 311-340. 115 Wilson, "Memory and the Politics of Forgetting," 48-51. 116 Ibid., 49-51. 80
the results of Haussmann's projects as part of the virtues of Paris under the new government while dodging association with the unpopular and traumatic demolitions of the Second Empire. The leaders of the Third Republic undertook the effacement of the memory of the revolutionary Commune and that of the Second Empire as the same project. Architecture, Memory, and Nationalism for Morale Recovery A second tactic to aid in mora le recovery was the revival of a mythical common point of origin for the nation as a whole namely medieval France. Andreas Huyssen notes that such attempts were not only about accessing and celebrating the past, they were ways to give stability to the present. "[T]he main concern of the nineteenth-century nation-states was to mobilize and monumentalize national and universal pasts so as to legitimize and give meaning to the present and to envision the future: culturally, politically, socially." 117 This tactic had been employed in the post-Revolutionary period as well to create a sense of national unity and to prevent the destruction of architecture which was either religious or royalist. Relating the structure to the nation's cultural past, instead of the religious or political past, and inculcating a sense of responsibility for national history, saved many medieval buildings from destruction by vandals. Historians during the Revolutionary period linked the architecture of the past with the imagined memory of the bygone era during which it was created; this effort, by the nineteenth century, meant that buildings were popularly thought to be monuments vivants and containers for cultural memories. 118 117 Huyssen, Present Pasts 2. 118 Boyer, "La Mission Hliographique," 25. 81
At the end of the eighteenth century when Fr ance was attempting to reconcile its monarchist past with its revolutionary present, historians employed nationalist architecture as a means of bridging the gap between these seemingly disparate ideologies. In the face of the possible destruction of historical architecture, such as gothic churches or the chteaux of the deposed nobility, Abb Grgoire set out to symbolically link the buildings to the patrimony of the French nation in 1794 Grgoire attempted to wrest the decadent architecture from the memory of past royal regimes, focusing instead on morphology and evolution of a national style rather than emphasizing patronage and purpose. Essentially, he was attempting nothing less than to convert architecture into mnemonic devices, not for the ancien rgime but for the general greatness of the nation's ancestors, that would unify the nation and create a collective desire to protect important structures from abuse. 119 Independently of Grgoire but during the same post-revolutionary period, other historians including Alexandre Lenoir and Constantin Franois Volney studied artifacts and ancient megaliths throughout France with similar aims. 120 The country had a wealth of ancient and medieval structures that had largely been ignored by scholars or condemned as fabrications of decadent monarchs. Jacques-Antoine Dulaure, who 119 Ibid., 22-23. 120 Murphy draws attention to Anthony Vidler's recontextualization of Grgoire. "Anthony Vidler has [disputed] the idea that Grgoire campaigned for the preservation of historic monuments out of a disinterested love of old buildings, and he posits Grgoire as a linguistic and nationalistic 'revolutionary' who shifted the terms in which monuments were discussed to show that vandalism was a counterrevolutionary activity that robbed France of its history and impoverished the learning of its people. Vidler shows that Grgoire was able to represent vandalism and preservation as both belonging to the revolutionary process. In a similar sense, a continuity existed between vandalism and preservation in Lenoir's museum, which incorporated tomb sculpture saved after its violent removal from the royal abbey at Saint-Denis." Modernity and Memory 40. Vidler's assertions appear in Grgoire Lenoir, et les 'monuments parlants,'" In La Carmagnole des muses, l'homme de lettres et l'artiste dans la R volution Jean-Claude Bonnet, ed. (Paris: Armand Colin, 1988). 82
founded the Acadmie celtique in 1804 succinctly explained how material objects functioned as containers of knowledge and why they were valuable for study and preservation: [t]he stones or columns that serve as landmarks offered the first repository of human knowledge, and they were the most ancient library of nations, because it was on those columns that all findings in the arts and sciences, laws, great events, political, moral and religious principles, were engraved. Philosophers, scholars, historians, princes, legislators all came to consult these inscriptions and to draw from them the principles of their doctrine or customs. 121 Material remains from past cultures were becoming central t o the history of France because scholars imagined that the physical presence of an object from the past would enable immediate and transparent comprehension of the knowledge from the originating culture's elites. 122 Buildings and monuments, then, contained the history and knowledge of their culture, and were didactic, able to teach moral lessons about the historical moment in which they were built. 123 The attempts by Abb Grgoire and others after the Revolution to associate architecture with national memory were ultimately successful. Victor Hugo expressed similar sentiments in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831) : [T]he greatest productions of architecture are not so much the work of individuals as of society, the offspring rather of national efforts than of the conceptions of particular minds, a deposit left by a whole people, the accumulation of ages, the residue of the successive evaporations of human society  Each wave of time leaves its alluvium, each race 121 Jacques-Antoine Dulaure, Histoire abrge des diffrents cultes (1825). Quoted by Xavier Costa, "Mercurial Markers: Interpretations of Architectural Monuments in Early Nineteenth Century France," unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation (University of Pennsylvania, 1990), 151. Quoted in Boyer, "La Mission Hliographique," 26. 122 Boyer, "La Mission Hliographique," 28. 123 Ibid., 30. 83
deposits its stratum upon the monument, each individual contributes his stone[...] The great symbol of architecture[...] is a hive. 124 Echoing Abb Grgoire, Lenoir, and Volney, Hugo implies that architecture was a product of a society that left a legible mark knowledge or memory within the stones. The subsequent city-wide destruction of buildings and neighborhoods beginning with Haussmann resonated as a very real assault against what Parisians by then perceived as their history embodied in the fabric of the city, their material link to a fixed and legible past, to the 'real Paris.' This point of view is even echoed in Haussmann's efforts to collect notable artifacts from the neighborhoods that were demolished for the Muse Carnavalet. In his article "Le Vieux Paris" published in 1867, while Haussmann was still attempting to complete his renovations, Louis Blanc equates the immortal charm of Paris with the great men and great events marking the city. 125 The mark, as imagined by Blanc,was quite literally the memory of those great men and events, what he calls "illustrious phantoms" that made up the soul of Paris and were inscribed within the material form of the city over time. Paraphrasing Blanc, historian Shelley Rice illustrates how Haussmann's renovations were disruptive not only of daily life, but also to Parisian collective memory: Haussmann, by demolishing the old, did nothing less then separate the body of Paris from its soul. The prefect destroyed much more than objects and spaces he destroyed the repositories of mental images, demolished the histories and meanings of places that together shaped collective memory. He created a rupture with the past, with tradition, 124 Hugo, Hunchback, 162. 125 Louis Blanc, "Le Vieux Paris" in Corinne Verdet, ed. Paris Guide par les principaux crivains et artistes de la France (Paris: Editions La Decoverte 1983), 15-19, cited in Shelley Rice Parisian Views 144-45. 84
with metaphorical thought that was irreparable, and he left the 'illustrious phantoms' of memory wandering homeless through the new metropolis. 126 Structures had become mnemonic devices, recalling to neighborhood inhabitants the great men and great events of the quartier those which were worth knowing, remembering, and teaching to the next generation. Essentially the great memories metaphorically inhabited the very stones of the city as "illustrious phantoms" which made up the soul of Paris. Therefore the desire to preserve an image of the city's historical architecture was nothing less than life support for the ailing soul of Paris. Revivification and Reification of Medieval Paris As after the French Revolution, so too in the aftermath of the dual traumas of the Siege and the Commune, government officials, scholars, and journalists, both liberal and conservative alike, promoted a sustained and universal enthusiasm for the history of the Middle Ages, including its remaining architectural treasures. 127 Significantly, it was during the Third Republic that architectural preservation societies in Paris reached a zenith. 128 In the late 1880s, Haussmann became the target of indiscriminate contempt, 126 Rice, Parisian Views, 145. 127 Elizabeth Emery and Laura Morowitz, Consuming the Past: The Medieval Revival in fin-desicle France (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2003), 19. See also Janine R. Dakyns, The Middle Ages in French Literature, 1851-1900 (London: Oxford University Press, 1973), 195. These scholars argue that study of the medieval ages during this period was partly a means to recover, morally and politically, from the Second Empire, war with Prussia, and Commune. The valorization of the middle ages as a heroic period was embraced by Catholics and republicans alike. 128 Sutcliffe, The Autumn of Central Paris, 206-207. Sutcliffe has the most comprehensive listing of preservation societies, though this is only the list for architectural preservation within Paris. Likely, there were many other historicist societies throughout the country, as well as other groups concerned with preserving other antique objects. Commission Municipale du Vieux Paris (1897), Historic Monuments Commission (1837), Academy of Inscriptions (1663), Society of the History of Paris (1874), Society of Parisians of Paris (1890), Society of Friends of Paris Monuments (1884), Old Montmartre Society (1886), Auteuil and Passy historical society (1892), Montagne Sainte-Genevieve (1895), the historical society of the VIe and XIVe arrondissements (1898), the historical and archaeological society of the VIIIe and XVIIe arrondiss ements (1899), the historical society of the VIIe and XVe arrondissements (1903), La Cite (1901), the Centre de Paris society (1912), the Society of Friends of the Louvre (1898), the Tuileries Committee (1911), Association of the Friends of Paris 85
which the former prefect himself attributed to the circulation of nostalgic etchings by artists such as Charles Mryon. 129 (Figure 15) Mryon's etching presented the old city with a picturesque, pastoral innocence. The turreted building in the image is not unlike that from Le Secq's photograph, yet it is presented in a state that never existed, overrun by nature, echoing the picturesque ruins of European travel guides. Mryon's work was met with indifference during the Second Empire, when this type of architecture would have been more common, but as they were reproduced in the decades following, this was the image of pre-Haussmannized Paris with which many became familiar. 130 Even those who lived through Haussmannization, according to Sutcliffe, forgot the state of the old slums since better sewers and cleansing methods had improved those vieux sections still extant. Elizabeth Emery and Laura Morowitz argue the widespread interest in medieval French history in the late nineteenth century essentially had its roots in escapism at a national level: "the medievalism of the fin de sicle is part of a much broader phenomenon of revivalism; it is one manifestation of a desire to escape the present by studying the past (and especially the French past)." 131 Study of the medieval past did not remain solely an official concern, rather the capitalistic marketplace of the late nineteenth century made it possible for consumers to participate on an individual level by purchasing, if not authentic medieval objects, reproductions and themed commodities. 132 (1911). Notably, there was an attempt to form a Paris Archaeological and Historical Society as early as the mid-1860s, but this effort failed. 129 Ibid., 189. 130 Ibid. 131 Eme ry and Moro witz, Consuming the Past, 8. 132 Emery and Morowitz describe the revival of interest in the Middle Ages between 1871-1905 as "a widespread phenomenon that engaged people from all social and economic classes." (2) Since I am specifically concerned with medievalism as it relates to the spaces of Paris, I will have a rather limited 86
After a period of severe social unrest and anarchy, medieval French society was popularly extolled as a lost golden age: cohesive, whole, and socially harmonious. Instead of dwelling on the present dire situation in France, studying the monuments, architecture, and other relics of the past allowed citizens to imagine a common remembrance of a time when social order was legible, before modernity ushered in an age of alienation. 133 For evidence of the wide reach of medievalism during the fin-desicle one need only examine one of the most popular diversions of Paris in the earliest days of the twentieth century: Vieux Paris 134 at the Exposition Universelle of 1900. (Figure 16) On the Right Bank, just west of the Pont de L'Alma stood the amusement park constructed by antiquarian and architectural illustrator Albert Robida. Vieux Paris was an amalgamation of archetypal French medieval building styles from which visitors may recognize constituent historical parts still extant in Paris or nearby environs. 135 The destroyed architectural treasures of Paris were temporarily rebuilt and represented by scope in this regard. However, Emery and Morowitz analyze popular consumption of all manner of medieval themed goods in their book-length study Consuming the Past. 133 This perception is the basis for the theories formulated by Halbwachs and Nora respectively. The loss of peasant culture is characterized by both scholars as the prime rupture in collective memory, the point that led to the loss of the collective memory of both nobility and peasants alike. In his essay, "Social Classes and Their Traditions," Halbwachs explains what had changed in terms of communal memory between the medieval and early modern periods. "It is hence a singularly concrete and particular physiognomy that dominates the social order of this [feudal] period. Names and titles evoke the past of families, the geographical location of their belongings, their personal relations with other noble families, and their proximity to princes and to the court  Every man and group that can do so tries in this way to create for themselves historical rights and to find their position within this framework." (123-24) 134 N.B.: When discussing the attraction, I will capitalize the adjective "Vieux" to differentiate between the entertainment complex advertising itself as "Vieux Paris" and the actual old or v ieux portions of the city. 135 Barrett Eastman and Frdric Mayer, Paris, 1900: The American Guide to the City and Exposition (Chicago: Northern Trust Company Bank, 1899) 73. Within this guide, the authors describe the three main sections of Vieux Paris: the "medieval quarter" (fifteenth century), the Grand Markets (eighteenth century), and the section formed by the Ch telet, Pont-au-Change, the street of St. Lawrence Fair, and Le Palais (sixteenth through eighteenth centuries). The Exposition's Vieux Paris was not representative of any particular neighborhood from a specific historical period, rather it was made up of replicas of notable destroyed buildings dating from the fifteenth to early nineteenth century within 65,000 square feet of constructed urban space 87
88 Figure 15. Little Tower on Rue de la Tixeranderie. Charles Mryon, 1852.
89 Figure 16. Le Vieux Paris. Mass-produced color-tinted postcard for the Exposition Universelle of 1900. Brooklyn Museum Archives, Goodyear Archival Collection.
monuments, houses, and markets that guidebook writers Barrett Eastman and Frdric Mayer term the "fabric of life in Paris." 136 The outcome was a jumble of turrets, spires, buttresses, gabled roofs, half-timbered houses, niches formed by intersecting multi-level buildings, and open areas for crowds to watch wandering minstrels or other street entertainers. 137 It was a story-book construction providing a sanitized version of the old city, the most quaint and picturesque features distilled and combined into the components of the simulated city. Nowhere within Paris was it possible to find so many architectural wonders, not only so well preserved, but unmarred by any indications of the passage of time, where the attendees were the only allowable sign of modernity. Le Vieux Paris: Le Chevet de Saint-Julien (Figure 17), one of a set of montaged postcards produced as souvenirs for the exhibition, presents a mlange of architectural styles, all suggestive of the medieval period, co-existing and blending into each other. The construction blends the romanticism of Mryon's etchings with the excess of detail provided by photography. In essence, this photomontage representing Robida's spectacle signifies its meaning through photographic shorthand describing the entire attraction to the viewer at a glance through highly descriptive detail. Furthermore, it describes how the viewer is supposed to interpret the attraction: an imaginary voyage into an authenticallyrendered past. 138 The architectural amalgamation is echoed in the diverse types of people pasted into the stage-set street. In the foreground a presumably noble woman in an elaborate fin-de-sicle interpretation of a fifteenth-century headdress 139 is reading from a 136 Ibid. 72. 137 Ibid., 78-79. 138 Przyblyski, "Moving Pictures ," 259-60. 139 Many thanks to Maur een Cox for helping identify the costuming via email, August 9, 2009. Specifically, it seems to be an early twentieth-century interpretation of a reticulated headdress with ear cauls, which was a fifteenth-century style. Further anachronisms in the dress are the model's highly 90
book a further indication of her noble social status, if one needed any more clues. To her left is a more humble couple, perhaps not noble, but not peasants either. Behind these main figures are knots of other people carousing on the constructed street. Based on the clothing of the individuals pasted into this scene, one would imagine the medieval period to be one where noble and serf mingled, and where there was perhaps the existence of a middle-class, as evidenced by the couple in the foreground who appear to be clean and well-kept, but not as richly-clothed as the nobility. The cobblestones and the steeple at the bottom and top of the postcard both break the boundaries of the picture plane, projecting into the space of the viewer. The street actually extends itself toward the viewer inviting an imaginary spatial exchange. Whereas Atget's photograph of a vieux building in Paris is situated in a space devoid of activity, the producers of the postcard populated the streets, illustrating what manner of people one may have found in old Paris. As I have shown in the first chapter, the typical visual mode for signifying the historicity of an area was an empty street. What accounts for the decision to include people in this montage? I would attribute it to the difference in intended audience for each image. Atget created his photo-documents for a specialized consumer, an archivist or antiquarian who would have known without any prompting what sort of people would have populated the streets. They had knowledge that would have informed the imaginary work necessary. The photomontage, on the other hand, was marketed to a generalized audience who was not privy to the knowledge or collective memories of groups familiar with urban photographs of this sort. Furthermore, the creators of the photomontage had supreme control over what type of society populated corseted Edwardian figure with the cotehardie and sideless surcote, and opera-l ength gloves. 91
92 Figure 17. Le Vieux Paris Le chevet de Saint-Julien Mass-produced photomontage postcard for the Exposition Universelle of 1900 Bibliothque National de France, Paris
the streets in their image. Atget's empty streets surrounding the H tel de Sens invite the viewer to project himself into the scene, and to populate the streets with imaginary period inhabitants. Presumably, this composite photograph is meant to communicate to the viewerattendee the diversity of entertainments to be found within in the attraction. Inside, the attendee was confronted by a purely commodified space, a blatant commercial spectacle about history, in which consumers were the only allowable evidence of modernity. Robida's idealized Vieux Paris indelibly conflated the stage-set city with the remaining vieux areas of Paris itself. 140 In addition to creating an entertaining attraction and garnering commercial success, Robida made a structural narrative to teach appreciation for historical architecture and invest visitors, particularly Parisians, with a feeling of responsibility for protecting the city's architectural treasures. 141 This attraction was a place where the city's 'illustrious phantoms' could inhabit the simulated city of complete, whole memory once more, at least for the duration of the exhibit. The ideal audience for Robida's project, if its constituents learned the lessons of Vieux Paris, would imagine what possible forgotten histories were embedded within the vieux constituents of their own quartier and would therefore foster respect for remnants of the past in the present, all the while being entertained and educated. The Self-Referentiality of vieux Paris As an amateur antiquarian, Robida based the qualifications for the types of buildings included in Vieux Paris on the general status quo for the time. Broadly, 140 Emery, "Protecting the Past," 80. 141 Ibid., 79. 93
buildings with a feature that had become rare after Haussmannization were considered valuable and worthy of protection. This would include, but was not limited to, latemedieval and Renaissance turrets on mansions, medieval military architecture, and gable ends on ordinary houses. However, t he phrase vieux Paris,' and what structures qualified as vieux and therefore valuable for some sort of preservation, was never succinctly defined by advocacy groups. Those who wanted to preserve the image of vieux Paris simply recognized value innately in the morphology of the structure or street. In fact, the inability of preservationists to present a unified set of principles during the Second Empire worked to their disadvantage and subjected them to Haussmann's ridicule. For example, during the Second Empire, one group may have called only for the preservation of buildings erected before the first half of the seventeenth century; anything newer than that was not old enough to be considered rare or valuable. Other preservationist groups defended only buildings made of stone. Some historians wanted to conserve all old buildings since their very existence as remnants from another age gave them inherent historical value, even if the condition was substandard, while still others only valued structures that exhibited "exceptional artistic quality." 142 After 1870, according to Sutcliffe, preservation groups attempted to present a more united front. At the same time, the already loose crite ria by which old and valuable architecture was judged, according to scholars, antiquarians, and politicians, had become even more liberal. The Commission municipale du Vieux Paris, founded in 1897, 142 Sutcliffe, Autumn 185-87. 94
described the parts of the city that were valuable for physical or photographic preservation: Old houses at the point of demolition, the quais of the Seine during their transformation, the work beneath the public thoroughfares, the architectural ornament decorating the dwellings of the past few centuries, the old streets and crossings, in a word, everything across the city that can conjure up the memory of the past or call to mind vanished epochs. 143 It may rightly seem that the Commission's qualifications for what is old, valuable, and therefore worthy of archival remembrance is vague to the point of absurdity. Any house, ornament, bridge, street, intersection, quai essentially any material architectural or infrastructural remnant from the last "few centuries" was fodder for the archive. Of concern was that the place be able to "conjure up the memory of the past or call to mind vanished epochs." Therefore, what was valuable for the Commission were the structures that resonated with a viewer, that called to a viewer's mind the memory associated with a structure based primarily on its appearance. Vieux Paris, the term and the disjunctive spaces remaining in the city, had become abstracted into a self-referential construct, the recognition of which was triggered by the existence of old architecture and the sentiment of memory. The very inability or unwillingness of preservation groups to define vieux Paris as a signifier of a specific period or as representative of a consistent set of architectural principles confirms antiquarians' and archivists' desire to preserve the image of vieux Paris, despite the lack of a systematized convention for identifying what vieux actually meant. Preservation societies knew it was important to protect these areas, but simply depended on the 143 Commission municipale du Vieux Paris, "Notice rdige par L. L ambeau destin tre remise aux visiteurs de l'exposition spciale ," Procs verbaux (19 July 1900), 129. Quoted in Nesbit, Seven Albums 63. Nesbit indicates this notice was intended to be distributed to attendees of the special Commission-sponsored Vieux Paris attraction at the Exposition Universelle in 1900. 95
knowledge of their own group and their own common sets of group memories to select the valuable architecture. Nora identifies the existence of this type of self-referentiality as a simple means to identify lieux de mmoire "Contrary to historical objects,  lieux de mmoire have no referent in reality; or, rather, they are their own referent: pure, exclusively self-referential signs." 144 Vieux Paris was not a real place, not in the way that Belleville or the Ile de la Cit were; it was an idea. The conception of vieux Paris after Haussmann was, by and large, a construct. The term vieux Paris represented an imaginary historical city whose constituent structures were smattered indiscriminately throughout the city. Even though vieux Paris represented a constructed urbanism, the idea was very real to Parisians and visitors. In the nineteenth century, Parisian guidebooks often resembled a form of historical fiction, wherein description was combined with an account of the history of the space one visited. Sutcliffe notes authors who perhaps originated the style, at least in the old Paris market: Louis Lurine who wrote Les Rues de Paris: Paris ancien et moderne in 1844, and Fanny Richomme, author of Paris monumental et historique from 1850. 145 These authors, and countless others that follow, 146 point out 144 Nora, "Between Memory and History," 23. Nora further explains that this characteristic does not mean the signs are without content or history, therefore these are not empty signs. 145 Sutcliffe, Autumn of Central Paris, 182. My concern is specifically about the vieux Paris guidebooks, so I will not go into much detail regarding the evolution of the type. Boyer convincingly links the change in guidebook writing style to the popularity of personalized, subjective travel accounts beginning around 1800 with Mariana Stark's Travels in Italy (237-38) 146 Karl Baedecker Paris and its environs (Leipsic: Karl Baedecker, 1878); Cassell's Illustrated Guide to Paris (London: Cassell & Company, 1884); Chambers's handy guide to Paris (London: W. & R. Chambers, 1863); Charles Dickens Dickens's dictiona ry of Paris (London: MacMillan & Co., 1882); Peter Herv How to enjoy Paris: being a complete guide to the French metropolis (London, 1818); Florian Herv du Lorin, Paris before, during and after the war and its insurrection (Paris: Imprimerie Symonds & co., 1873); Philip Gilbert Hamerton, Paris in old and present times (London: Seeley & Co. Limited, 1907); Henry Haynie, Paris Past and Present (NY: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1902) ; Stanford's Paris Guide (London: Edward Stanford, 1 858); Theodore Child, The Praise of Paris (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1893); Benjamin Ellis Martin and Charlotte M. Martin, Stones of Paris in History and Letters (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 190 6). 96
evidence of pittoresque architecture, and then diverge into a nostalgic reverie, encouraging the reader to imagine himself in a bygone time as he traverses the historic neighborhoods and contemplates the architecture. Authors generally rehearsed anecdotes associated with old buildings to characterize a history of each respective neighborhood. For instance, George Frederick Edwards in his guidebook, Old time Paris, a plain guide to its chief survivals from 1908 enthusiastically extolled his readers to meditate on the particularly rare Htel de Sens, not long after Atget photographed it. It is worth quoting Edwards at length as he describes the structure (I will discuss the textual description more deeply in the next section). Edwards writes: Now at your right elbow is a remnant of Mediaeval Paris the Supreme Example THE HOTEL DE SENS! Shut out from consciousness, if you can, the aggressive presence of that intrusive market, and revel in this harmonious anachronism, this belated lingerer of a bygone world. It has been in some measure outraged; but much remains to testify to the loving care of those builders, who, in the year 1474, began this work when Louis the Eleventh was king. It was designed for the town house of the Archbishop of Sens. A hundred and twenty years afterwards, the divorced wife of Henri Quatre, 'Queen Margot' lived here. In the seventeenth century it became a coaching house: and tradition has it that in the time of the Directory, the 'Lyons Mail' left its yard coming out of that stately doorway, on the fatal night, the story of which has thrilled thousands of playgoers who have witnessed the elder Irving in his marvellous [sic] impersonation of the unhappy Lesurques. Once a Bishop's palace, a Queen's retreat, a hostelry in the heroic days of the road: it serves now the prosaic purpose of a glass warehouse! Happily, its outward features have not been hopelessly marred even yet: though an attempt at its destruction was made in 1830 by the Revolutionists of that year; as witness the presence of that small cannon ball embedded in the masonry just over the little window on the left. [. .] When you have proceeded forty or fifty yards, just turn round a moment and see the old house once more from a distance. It is an 97
impression that will take long to efface this venerable vignette of a bygone Age silent witness of four and a half centuries of the seething life of a city where so much history has been made! 147 This description was written within a decade of Atget's photograph, introduced at the beginning of the chapter. Edwards does not deviate from the common vieux Paris guidebook format, in fact, he hopes that his reader, after studying his choices of vieux architecture will be able to pick out his own. The right mindset, entered into after viewing architectural treasures, would put the reader in a state of imaginary reverie. Edwards suggests, Once you get in touch with the genius of the quartier and your eye begins to catch the odd corners, quaint doorways, bulging windows out of drawing, top-heavy gables, and all the thousand and one bits of 'longago' that look out upon you passing, your imagination will be attuned to your environment; and it would not startle you to encounter a group of citizens in doublet and hose, or to find yourself making way for a couple of armed swashbucklers in panache and spurs shouldering out from the low-browed doorway of a tavern. 148 The old Paris guidebooks intermingled the history of the site with nostalgia that informed Robida's Vieux Paris creating an imaginary urbanism that encouraged viewers to block out the building's current purpose and to revel in a bygone time which, presumably, one could access through the material presence of the building. Extant medieval spaces of Paris were ripe for this sort of treatment. The unstated goal of many guidebook writers, Edwards included, is to create a historical narrative linking the building to a time before memory had been fractured by modernity. E ven an innocuous old structure, having survived the destructive nineteenth century, would now 147 George Frederick Edwards, Old time Paris, a plain guide to its chief survival s (London: A. Doubleday, 1908), 41-42. 148 Ibid. 102-103. 98
have a noteworthy history, if for no other reason than because it had been spared. S ince the Htel de Sens, and other historical buildings, had survived the nineteenth century, the narrative of its survival automatically made it important Furthermore, t he desire to preserve such spaces, whether in life or in images, represented a dislodging of the space from history, a temporal dgagement What might have been destroyed on a whim was now deemed sacred for the sake of memory, and had become untouchable. Part Two: Photographs as Containers of Knowledg e and Memory It is my contention that by the turn of the twentieth century, empty street photographs such as those produced by Atget contributed to the nostalgic urbanism expressed by Edwards and others. However, it is the role of the photographic document as a container of knowledge and memory that made this interpretation possible. 149 The association between photo-documents and knowledge was a constructed one, based on the reproduction of Enlightenment values that had become naturalized over time. Nesbit acknowledges the naturalization of the relationship between knowledge and photographs, but does not explain how the conflation of the two came about. Mary Warner Marien, in her book Photography and Its Critics (1997) argues that the correspondence between camera vision, human vision, and objective knowledge existed even at the outset of photography's invention. 150 Joseph Nicephore Ni pce, Daguerre's partner until the former's death in 1833, called his camera an artificial retina. Thereafter, the image fixed 149 Though the photo-viewing public had become accustomed to the medium and thus recognized that the image was not self-made by the sun or by the object itself, as did some of the first viewers of Daguerreotypes, people continued to see photo-documents as relatively objective in a way that paintings, drawings, or prints were not. The indexical re-presentation of a site or object, assisted by a machine, attested to the factual nature of photographic documents. The hand of the artist-photographer was present, yet the processes of technology minimized its influence. 150 Mary Warner Marien, Photography and Its Critics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 5-6. 99
on the sensitized plate "was thought to be an analogue of the picture on the human retina," corroborating the Enlightenment idea that the retinal image exists independently of the individual's interpretation of what he or she sees. With this conceit, it is not a leap to reason that the camera, like the human retina, allowed for direct perception of knowledge as if meaning is embedded within the image, not within the subject's interpretation. According to Molly Nesbit, a photographic document "held knowledge that in turn would be used to produce more knowledge, usually in a more advanced state." 151 Nesbit is not simply referring to the use of pictures as visual aids, as in the case of a book illustration. The document was important as an assistant to art and science, but also as an article of objective or historical proof that could aid in generating knowledge. Its role was strikingly similar to that of the historical artifacts preserved by Abb Grgoire, Lenoir, and Volney it provided direct comprehension of another time or place through first-hand exposure to the setting pictured 152 The underlying consensus among elite intellectuals was that the photograph was not an end in and of itself: its role was to provide a basis for a more important final product Nesbit compares the collaboration between the photo-document and the system of knowledge production that it informed to a peasant who works the field for a feudal lord, or a worker who produces commodities for a capitalist. The photo-document in the late nineteenth century would have been a tool, not art or even decoration. Nesbit characterizes it as a working document, existing in relation to and as inspiration for a 151 Nesbit, Seven Albums 16. 152 Boyer, "La Mission Hliographique," 22-25. 100
higher form of knowledge production. The document's highest purpose was to be what Nesbit terms a "detailed blank" 153 or an image with details that give primary evidence of historicity while remaining open to multiple uses. A painted portrait, a history painting for the Salon, a written account of a particular battle location, or even a guidebook would all have potentially have had a photo document as an assistant to the final work. Atget himself, in the infamous exchange with Man Ray, declared his photographs simple documents he made. It is within this context, because of its double use value, at once specialized and supremely open to having meaning assigned, that Atget's Htel de Sens functions. Atget's photograph of the htel was one of these blanks, waiting to be imbued with meaning by the specialist who required that exact representation to assist in further knowledge production. Knowing the use to which Atget's photographs may have been put allows an interrogation between the relation of image and knowledge production. Is there actually any information communicated by Atget's image that gives the viewer special access to the historical essence of the street corner? In relation to knowledge production, would this photograph contribute anything except a morphological description of a location to the work of, for instance, a political historian? 154 Does the vacant street serve as anything other than an empty stage through which the imagined actors and events progress? The short answer is no. Yet, by the turn of the century, architectural settings were inextricably linked to memory in the Parisian popular imagination, and glimpses of medieval craftsmanship would have been enough to direct a sympathetic viewer to a 153 Nesbit, Seven Albums 16. 154 Ibid. 101
nostalgic reverie. The belief, instituted by Grgoire and other post-Revolution historians, that a viewer who is attuned to his space and to the aura of an ancient structure would be able to infer facts about the history 'experienced' by the building had taken hold within the imaginations of Parisians and other Europeans alike. 155 The persistence of this belief is evidenced by Edwards and others, and it exists at the intersection of the naturalization of both buildings and photographs as containers for knowledge and memory. A Comparative Reading of the Space of the Htel de Sens When reading the nostalgic prose by Edwards, one has a strong sense that, for Edwards, merely looking upon a space, or by extension a representation of a historical space, inspired conjecture about other facets of life and events that had transpired and had been "witnessed" by the building. Edwards hopes a perceptive viewer, one who recognized the role of architecture as a trigger for memory, will begin to recognize the many extant medieval features for himself, attuning his imagination to the urban environment. In life, for a passerby to access such knowledge he must shut down his consciousness and deny the reality of the building in its present milieu to imagine its past inhabitants. Significantly, Edwards's description of the Htel de Sens is accompanied in the text by an illustration of the structure (Figure 18), signed Ch. F. Flower. The etching is remarkably similar to Atget's photograph, presenting the htel at a slightly skewed frontal view, hinting at the neighborhood behind the medieval home. The narrow road on the left and the sidewalk in front of the building are the only points at which the htel is anchored to the neighborhood on the right Flower has left out the adjacent apartment and instead 155 Many of the guidebooks I will introduce later were originally published for visitors to Paris. 102
simply cut the building off at its last turret and let it drift into a void. While it is tempting to create a direct correspondence between Atget's photo and Flower's etching, the relationship between the two is not so explicit. There is at least one etching from an earlier guidebook 156 that depicts the same view (Figure 19). Flower's etching and Atget's photograph are representative of a visual trope for picturing this structure. Regardless, I would argue that the two images are in conversation with each other since each presents a mediated interpretation of the space, with different results. Since Edwards wrote the type of vieux Paris guidebook that may have been informed by "detailed blank" documents, and Atget's photo-document of the same was created just a few years prior to the publication of Edwards's guidebook, one may compare the two images, supported by Edwards's textual description, to explore how the nostalgic writer mitigates the effects of modernity on a historic structure. Atget seems to have attempted to empty this photograph of signs of modernity to the greatest extent possible. For instance, there is no street traffic, no bicycles or automobiles, and no people to betray the period through their dress, which would certainly indicate that this site is neither frozen in the past nor immune to temporality. Even with these blatant omissions, likely to satisfy the demands and expectations of his customers, modernity creeps in, literally, at the edges of the photograph through the posters and advertisements on the facing building at the far right, and most prominently with the gas light on the left edge of the frame. Both the ads and the lamppost would call to the mind of the viewer the contingency inherent in urban spaces, since the gas lamps 156 Philip Gilbert Hamerton, Paris in Old and Present Times (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1900), 230. 103
had been installed as part of Napoleon III's public works, and the ephemeral advertisements were ceaselessly changing. 157 The inclusion of these modern elements was not dictated by the dimensions of the photograph. Atget's box camera could have been adjusted to exclude some of the contextual visual information, as does this picture by an anonymous photographer from 1880. 158 (Figure 20) Instead, Atget chose to allow some elements of modern society exist within the photographic space of the preservationist. In the passage by Edwards above, the author indicates his distaste for certain "outrages" that have marred the building or the space. Furthermore, Edwards makes clear that, were it his decision, a busy market would not be located so near a historic structure. Other than these two clues, Edwards does not explicitly name the other outrages the structure has endured. By comparing Flower's etching to Atget's photograph, we can hypothesize what aspects of the space so offended Edwards. Presumably Flower would have known, or would have been asked, to omit these offenses to make an illustration commensurate with the space as Edwards's readers want to imagine it. In the book's illustration, there is no suggestion of the aggressive market, of the vehicular and pedestrian traffic that would have surrounded it, of the fact that the building currently houses a business above the door, or of the modern trappings of the city gas lamps, streets designed for vehicles, posters advertising various commodities and services. The etching pictures a space existing outside of a specific temporality, 157 According to Ruth Iskin, posters were meant to last for "an hour or a day." Ruth E. Iskin, "Father Time, Speed, and the Temporality of Posters around 1900," KronoScope 3 no. 1 (2003): 29. 158 Possibly this is the photograph that determined the prototypical view of the H tel de Sens which the other images exemplify. 104
105 Figure 18. Htel de Sens. Ch. F. Flower, etching in George Frederick Edwards, Old time Paris, a plain guide to its chief survivals (London: A. Doubleday, 1908): p. 43.
106 Figure 19. Htel de Sens. Anonymous etching, inscribed 1885. Published in Philip Gilbert Hamerton, Paris in Old and Present Times (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1900) p. 230
107 Figure 20. L'htel de Sens avant sa restauration. Anonymous photograph, 1880. In collection of Yvan Christ. In Yvan Christ, Les Metamorphoses de Paris (Paris: Editions Andre Balland, 1967), 169.
where all signifiers of modernity, or even of a particular epoch after the construction of the building have been omitted. For Atget's viewers, the emptiness of the streets in the photograph was what Nesbit terms a "technical sign" which denoted this was a document of old Paris. 159 Haussmann physically excised nationalistic monuments from their neighborhood as a means of highlighting and protecting the important architecture and setting it apart from the baseness of ordinary existence. This temporal dgagement allows the viewer to dwell, not on the modern aspects of urban life that coexists with the surviving vieux artifacts, but instead on the past itself, a desolate and fixed image wherein the viewer can meditate on the lost or changing bourgeois values of the past. The H tel de Sens is returned to history both as a reified structure and as a photograph, both of which stand in synecdochally for the old buildings and old social practices which had not survived. Atget's photograph of the Htel de Sens represents an already preserved space, one in which the viewer does not have to exert much effort to imagine the absence of modernity because most of it cars, bicycles, transient Parisians has been preemptively effaced. This represents a space in which the presence of the historic building alone is enough to spark an imaginary historical tour of the area, much in the same manner as contemporaneous guidebooks. The Htel de Sens of Atget's image has undergone a temporal dgagement ; it has been disentangled from time, from historical contingency, from the living milieu in which it had existed for centuries. 159 Nesbit, Seven Albums 17. Nesbit explains the technical sign as that which existed within the document, within the content, that would have made it identifiable and useful to a certain audience, the photograph's ideal viewer. The technical signs of photographs for architectural preservation include frontal framing and focus on the important architectural details. If the subject of the photograph is a building, a view of the street may be included, but with minimal inclusion of other structures. The setting is empty and as devoid of signals of modernity as possible. 108
Old Paris as Milieu de Mmoire For decades during the mid-nineteenth century, the empty-street photograph was associated with preserving an image of an ancient space. The symbolic vacancy of the city at the turn of the century left room for the viewer to invest the picture with an imaginary urbanism of the past. Empty p hotographic documents, then, provided a space to be injected with an imaginary vivacity and life to an otherwise inaccessible history. To return to Edwards as an example, access to the memories depends on the viewer's ability and desire to associate extant medieval architecture with an imaginary historical urbanism, a mental link, by the early twentieth century, that needed only the barest suggestion to activate, and a link entirely integrated with French architectural patrimony. The memories of the past were thus nascent within the buildings and only required a sympathetic individual to access them. Edwards described the area with language that highlights the simplicity and peacefulness associated with the structure, in contrast to the frenetic pace of modern life and the market. The building itself exudes a sense of harmony, and it is anthropomorphized as a lost or confused "lingerer of a bygone world," not entirely unlike Baudelaire's tragic swan in "Le Cygne" (1857), his poem lamenting the alterations being enacted by Haussmann. Edwards characterizes the anachronistic htel as a beautiful but lost entity, unable to return to its natural environment, ultimately destined to be damaged or destroyed by careless men. Meanwhile, the market surrounding the htel is described as aggressive and intrusive, disturbing the scene with its modern outrages, such as commerce, advertisements, and other signs of modernity. 109
Edwards's so-called outrages are important, for they indicate that this building and corner were a milieu de mmoire, a living environment of memory, for those in this neighborhood. For the ordinary inhabitant of this area, the pointed arches and turrets of the h tel were not likely to inspire the nostalgic fantasy invoked by Edwards. Rather, the structure existed within the living fabric of the neighborhood and housed a local business; 160 for quartier residents, the h tel had use value. Instructed to shut out the structure's role as part of a living neighborhood, Edwards's reader is instead supposed to channel a vivid vision of the past embodied by the old h tel For Edwards and his audience, the building's current situation was no more than an affront, and was not how it should be remembered for posterity. Instead Edwards encouraged his promeneur to regard the actual space as an image already fixed, historicized, and archived. Edwards's call to ignore the liveliness of this area is reminiscent of the perception by some of Haussmann's critics cited in the previous chapter that Haussmann would kill the quartier. Edwards attempted a temporal dgagement even though the site was, in fact, relatively unchanged despite the traumatic experiences of the previous half-century. The reader who was sympathetic to the plight of historical structures in the city, however, was supposed to reject this reality and substitute his own: the space as an image, as devoid of life as Atget's photograph. 160 Philip Gilbert Hamerton, another guidebook writer (for which the 1885 etching serves as an illustration), notes that "the hotel is unfortunately occupied as a manufactory of sweets, and the enterprising marker uses a representation of the building in all his illustrated advertisements. How little the architect in the fifteenth century foresaw this special kind of celebrity for his work!" Paris in Old and Present Times (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1900), 233. 110
The Preservation Aesthetic as Lieu de Mmoire By the turn of the twentieth century the empty-street aesthetic described in the first chapter of this study had become outmoded in relation to the technological possibilities of photography. This aesthetic had not been the primary mode of representing the street for many years. Stereographic street views and postcards had been widely and cheaply circulated for decades for those seeking verisimilitude and excitement in their images of the street. 161 Furthermore, handheld box cameras, invented in 1888, marked the introduction of the snapshot and democratized photographic practice; point-and-shoot photographers required no specialized knowledge of either the equipment, the medium, or representational conventions. 162 Atget's penchant for this old-fashioned convention, then, was clearly a choice, not the result of technological constraints as had been the case with some earlier photographers. Furthermore, it was an aesthetic that was becoming more and more difficult to replicate in the twentieth century. Therefore, Atget's penchant for working early in the morning, before the quartier 's activity had begun, appears to be the only means by which to create an image of a street with no traffic. My contention is that the aestheticization of this type of empty-street photograph, by this time a deliberately reproduced visual construct, in combination with the subject matter, vieux Paris, had become a lieu de mmoire for viewers of such images. In the first chapter of this study, I identified a trajectory of photography as it became a valuable tool for lobbyists of conservation and preservation of old Parisian 161 Przyblyski, "Moving Pictures," 258; Naomi Schor, "'Cartes Postales': Representing Paris 1900," Critical Inquiry 18 no. 2 (1992): 212; Shelley Rice "Sill Points in a Turning World, Afterimage 14 no. 10 (1987): 12. 162 Kodak's slogan for its box camera, introduced in 18 88, was "You press the button we do the rest." 111
landmarks. The men of the Acadmie des Sciences, the first to be presented with Daguerre's invention, recognized that fixing an image of Paris would make the city immortal even if important monuments degenerated over time. The Missions Hliographiques further intertwined photography with archival preservation of national architectural treasures. Through the Second Empire, this link between photography and preservation continued, especially in the face of imminent destruction. Neighborhoods condemned to destruction by Napoleon III's and Haussmann's plans became part of the archive through their immortalization in images, such as those by Marville. Marville's photographs, in many cases, replaced the neighborhood spaces by means of his photography which was destined for the archive. I have made clear that though the aesthetic of photography for architectural preservation remained static over the span of photography's formative decades, 1839 through 1871, the images could be invested with any number of meanings depending on the sympathies of viewers. This characteristic, evidence of a constantly reinvented tradition, wherein meaning is vulnerable to appropriation, even manipulation, by different groups, defines a milieu de mmoire Nora refers to milieux de mmoire as "unspoken traditions" and "unstudied reflexes" as though the tradition was internalized from repetition, and common enough to be carried out automatically. 163 Photographs exhibiting the formal characteristics I have identified broadly shared the same concern, namely fixing an image of a city in flux, but individually were open to differing interpretations and were created for a variety of motives. The earliest photographers, like Daguerre, were bound by technological limitations, while others achieved similar formal results by exploring new 163 Nora, "Between Mem ory and Histor y," 13. 112
technology, like Le Secq, or by using a longer shutter speed to create a range of tones as Marville did when photographing shadowy streets. In essence, during the period encompassed by my first chapter, 1839 through 1871, photographers reproduced the aesthetic unselfconsciously. Achieving emptiness on the streets in these photographs was not the final goal of these men, rather it was a side effect of a variety of photographic processes and representational necessities. By establishing this photographic tradition as a milieu de mmoire I have opened a means by which to interrogate Atget's photographic practice in a manner more commensurate with the concerns of urban photography's lineage than has been performed by previous scholars. Formal similarities between Atget and earlier photographers persisted in his work at the same time that it had been abandoned by the modern sensibility of the twentieth-century. Rather than supposing Atget was a proto-modernist visionary, or someone who reproduced the aesthetic because he did not understand developing photographic methods, his works can be examined as manifestations of a practice that was once an act of memory, but by his time had become a codified construct, a lieu de mmoire. Nora describes lieux de mmoire as "moments of history torn away from the movement of history, then returned; no longer quite life, not yet death, like shells on the shore when the sea of living memory has receded." 164 A site of memory crystallizes when consciousness of a break with the past is intertwined with a sense of continuity, though in a less vivid, less thriving form, a mere echo of the original tradition. 165 S ites of memory only solidify as such when their meaning stops changing, 164 Ibid., 8. 165 Ibid., 7. 113
when meaning becomes fixed and self-referential through the process of reification. I have explicated this process through examination of guidebooks and contemporary popular references to old Paris. They are no longer open to multitudinous meaning, rather their meaning is fixed and incontrovertible. Old Paris was, by the end of the century, an overdetermined construct given weight by the existence of historical architecture and invested with preservationist desires. Vieux Paris had become its own mythic and subjective referent. Images of such spaces, in the preservationist mode, allowed viewers to re-invest the empty streets with the "illustrious phantoms" that had hemorrhaged out of the bricks and mortar during the period of destruction beginning with the Second Empire. The empty street photograph, then, was in and of itself complicit with the aims of the preservationist movement. It presented, to the extent possible, a timeless and sober image, distinguishing between past achievement and the outrages of the present, thereby equating the distant past with nobility and greatness, and modernity with degeneracy. Just as the popularization of medievalism during the Third Republic was not so much about the past, so the images of vieux Paris appropriated the architecture of the past to serve the needs of the present. Part Three: A New Perspective on Atget's Audiences To this point the ideal viewer for these images has not been specifically addressed. I have used the term 'preservationist' to refer to the constituents of Atget's primary customer base, whether individual or institutional. But what of Atget's other audience with whom he has unwittingly been associated for much of the twentieth century the Surrealists? How does this group's reaction to Atget's pictures resonate in relation to lieux 114
de mmoire ? It is necessary to delve more deeply into the ideal viewership for these lieux de mmoire embodied within the photographs. To those who were not archivists or specialists in vieux Paris, Atget's practice was distinctly out of sync with progressive modes of photography gaining hold in the 1920s. Artists Man Ray, Alexander Rodchenko, and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy among them began to explore photography as an avant-garde medium that did not necessarily indexically reproduce what was before the camera at the time of exposure, but that instead created new ways of seeing. These photographers were independently investigating abstraction, unconventional points of view, and the possibilities of the medium beyond those traditionally embraced by photographic tradition. Henri CartierBresson, who coined the term "decisive moment" as a means by which to capture splitsecond interactions, and whose work marked the beginnings of both photojournalism and street photography, began his career only five years after Atget's death. Therefore, for viewers who were interested in exploring the formal qualities unique to photography, Atget's documents of vieux Paris were nothing more than pictures from everyday life that mysteriously hinted at a more vivid side of ordinary existence. For the avant-garde, especially the Surrealists, the emptiness of Atget's streets signified the enchanting possibilities of banality. Walter Benjamin further linked Atget with the Surrealists in his essay "A Small History of Photography" wherein he notes that Atget was the first photographer to emancipate the photograph from its aura. 166 Twentieth-century viewers attributed this quality to Atget's own initiative as a 166 Walter Benjam in, "A Small History of Photography," in One Way Street and Other Writings trans. Edmund Jephcott and Kingsley Shorter ( London: NLB, 1979), 249-50. 115
photographer, to his recognition of a 'signal' indicating the presence of something remarkable buried within the everyday. It is now clear, however, that Atget was replicating a well established photographic convention, expected and demanded by his customer base. The dual nature of lieux de mmoire foregrounds the question of audience in any discussion of a site of memory's formation. What may be a living environment of memory for one group functions at the same time as a site of memory for another, as is exemplified by the use value of the Htel de Sens as an inn, a candy shop, or glass warehouse in opposition to the vacant image as a preservationist urban imaginary. All of this begs the question, then, for whom did the photographs of empty, vieux streets function as lieux de mmoire ? What group's collective memory was activated by these pictures? The audience for architectural images in a preservationist mode was a very exclusive population of nostalgic bourgeoisie forming a closed circuit from 1839 until late in Atget's career. Beginning with Daguerre, the viewership of photographs such as those I have examined was relatively narrow, especially in comparison to portraiture and massproduced stereography, which were widely practiced and patronized. The images from the Commission des Monuments Historiques 's Missions Hliographique were not exhibited, and in most cases, were not even printed. 167 They were ushered directly into the archives where they could be accessed if needed by a restoration architect or craftsman. 167 Records indicate Baldus having a prolific independent exh ibition record, but most often his photographs were categorized as industry and shown within that context. He also submitted photographs to the Salon, but over ten years and twenty submissions, only two were accepted. Daniel, The Photographs of douard Baldus, 233 242-43 116
The same can be said of Marville's photographs for the archives of the Second Empire. 168 Likewise, Atget's documents were circulated among a relatively narrow set of viewers during his lifetime his most regular and lucrative customers were the various arms of state archival institutions. 169 Viewers would have either purchased the prints directly from Atget, or they would have viewed his collections of albums in the print room of a Parisian library or museum. 170 Both Maria Morris Hambourg's and Molly Nesbit's comprehensive research into Eugne Atget's business practices characterizes a specific type of consumer who made up his public specialists, architectural restorers, institutional archivists, artists who needed reference documents 171 and, only after his death, the larger public. The primary viewers of these photographs, then, were only the same men who commissioned them, and perhaps fellow photographers or craftsmen who were all concerned with the same type of historical preservation. The viewers and producers of empty-street photographs, in effect, formed a closed-circuit for three-quarters of a century, wherein the aesthetic came to indelibly stand for preservationism, archival memory, and the desire to fix an image of the city in anticipation of its unavoidable future loss. By the time Atget's career was flourishing in the twentieth century, it could stand for nothing else. 168 Some of Marville's im ages were exhibited to the public at the Exposition of 1878, juxtaposed with images of Haussmann's finished boulevards in a didactic manner to highlight the progress that had been made over the span of two decades. Marie De Thezy, Marville Paris 32-33. 169 Nesbit estimates the number of photographs Atget sold to the French state for its official archives to be at least 16,748. Nesbit, Seven Albums, 21-22. 170 Nesbit, "The Use of History," 79. 171 Nesbit, Seven Albums, 27-41. 117
According to Nora, lieux de mmoire exist only because of the constant vigilance of those who need to protect the memory from obliteration, in the form of commemorations, celebrations, or in this instance, maintenance of an image by way of a codified, outmoded aesthetic. He writes, "We buttress our identities upon such bastions but if what they defended were not threatened, there would be no need to build them." 172 The bastions to which Nora refers would not exist in an environment of lived memory. Milieux de mmoire are built upon an acceptance of forgetting. In other words, what is necessary to remember for the society would be engrained in actions and traditions, and what was unimportant for communal memory would be forgotten without regret. If, for instance, Atget's photograph of the urban space surrounding the H tel de Sens indicated the liveliness for which Edwards criticized it, if photographic technology and the appearance of the space itself were more commensurate with the lived experience of Paris in 1899, viewers would be in the presence of a milieu de mmoire Likewise, if the H tel de Sens had not been singled out for perpetual preservation, it would remain a part of the neighborhood's daily life, a milieu de mmoire and would perhaps be demolished when no longer useful. The perceived threat against the city's architectural patrimony need not have been imminent or certain, as it was during the modernization projects of the Second Empire. The ultimate irony of urbanization is that the transformation of city space, necessarily requiring the replacement of old structures with new, increases the need for comfort 172 Nora, "Between Mem ory and History," 12. 118
through familiar surroundings. 173 In relation to what a photograph is possible of communicating, Barthes writes: The Photograph does not necessarily say what is no longer but only and for certain what has been. This distinction is decisive. In front of a photograph, our consciousness does not necessarily take the nostalgic path of memory (how many photographs are outside of individual time), but for every photograph existing in the world, the path of certainty: the Photograph's essence is to ratify what it represents. 174 Preservationists fell victim to the same kind of contradictory longing described by T.J. Clark as those who criticized the form Paris would take under Haussmann to have an image of the city, not to vilify, but to mourn. These viewers tended to invest the images with nostalgia, to lament that this space may not be in the future. Preservationists were anticipating the future destruction of all of these structures and were preparing for it in advance. Clearly, vieux Paris, exemplified by Atget's pictures of the H tel de Sens, the Cour du Dragon, the H tel Chalons Luxembourg, St. tienne du Mont, or numerous other sites by which Atget became known as the preeminent photographer of the old city, had not been physically lost because they all existed at the time of the photograph. In fact, the possibility of another period of mass destruction on the scale of Haussmann's work was unlikely, since Haussmann's initial projects had ameliorated many of the problems of circulation, overcrowding, and unhealthy living conditions which necessitated his work to begin with. Also, in the intervening decades between Haussmann's first boulevards and the start of new projects by the Third Republic, urban planning conventions had changed such that alignment and geometrical 173 Phyllis Lambert, "Photographic Documentatio n and Buildings: Relationships Past and Present," Archivaria 5 (1977-78): 68. 174 Barthes, Camera Lucida, 85. 119
symmetry was no longer considered the apogee of modern city planning. 175 Those commissioning and purchasing these pictures were mourning in advance a loss that by this time was less and less likely to reoccur. Even Haussmann recognized the inherent paradox of modernization as he foresaw the need for images of the unique buildings that would finally be demolished. In relation to this Janus-faced need for both preservation and modernization, the drive to preserve images of these spaces originated with the fear and knowledge that, regardless of value to the patrimony, every aspect of vieux Paris could be wiped out by powers beyond the control of those who wanted to preserve the historic spaces. What is communicated by the photographic mode and subject matter vacant, empty streets perceived to be in danger of intentional or entropic destruction is only legible because the aesthetic came to mark that which would be destroyed by forces greater than the Parisians. Furthermore, the legibility of the image extends only to those whose group communal memories were hypersensitive to issues of destruction, conservation, and preservation, and to those who would have had access to the images, not only Atget's, but also those, stored in the archives, which established the form. 176 By the time Atget's work was noticed by those outside preservationist circles, in the late 1920s just before his death, the aesthetic generated interest because of its 175 Sutcliffe, Autumn of Central Paris 191-92. 176 Possibly, because of the Vieux Paris attraction, this may extend beyond professional preservationists. Robida's Vieux Paris, I would argue, brought the concerns of architectural preservation into popular consciousness. However, my argument specifically relates to those individuals who would have known and participated in the formation of the conventions for architectural photography established by the photographers I examined previously. These photographs were primarily stored in the archives, therefore those newly interested in historical preservation were not likely to have seen the images of old Paris by those photographers. Sutcliffe's synopsis of the acceptance of M ryon's etchings as accurate representations of the old streets corroborates my argument. 120
abnormality. Those who were unfamiliar with architectural photography of this type, for instance the Surrealists who admired Atget's work, as well as Walter Benjamin, experienced an intense cognitive disjunction, a recognition that this was not the Paris of their lived experience, and a concurrent inability to conceive of a reason for such a pictorial mode. For the avant garde it was a source of puzzlement and delight. Surrealist Robert Desnos wrote, "Atget has photographed all of Paris with the marvelous objective of creating a dream and a surprise" and called his documents "the visions of a poet." 177 Albert Valentin, a Belgian novelist associated with the Surrealists between 1928 and 1931 called him a "primitive visionary" who "obeyed his own infallible instinct, which led him into decidedly strange places where there appeared to be nothing of the slightest interest," ultimately producing a "fantastic and perfect mirror" of the ordinary existence of Paris. 178 Pierre Mac Orlan, novelist and essayist who conceived of a "social fantastic" or element of daily life only accessible through photography, characterized Atget as a lyric-poetcum-street-peddler who had a gift for anticipating the presence of the social fantastic in the neighborhoods wherein he worked. 179 Andre Breton, while not commenting directly on Atget's work, commissioned photographs as illustrations for his novel Nadja, published in 1928, in an 'Atgetian' mode by Jacques-Andr Boiffard 180 banal scenes 177 Robert Desnos, "Spectacles of the Street Eugne Atget." in Phillips, Photography in the Modern Era (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1989): 16. Originally published as "Spectacles de la rue. Eugne Atget," Le Soir (Paris), September 11, 1928. 178 Albert Valentin, "Eugne Atget," in Phillips, Photography in the Modern Era (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1989): 20-21. Originally published as "Eugne Atget (1856-1927)," Varits (Brussels, December 1928), 403-407. 179 Pierre Mac Orlan, "Preface to Atget Photographe de Paris ," in Phillips, Photography in the Modern Era (New York Museum of Modern Art, 1989): 41-49. Originally published in Berenice Abbott, Atget Photographe de Paris (New York: E. Weyhe, 1 930). 180 Ian Walker, City Gorged with Dreams: Surreal ism and Documentary Photography in Interwar Paris (New York: Palgrave, 2002): 88. Walker defines the Atgetian aesthetic as "the everyday recorded with such understated directness that it comes to seem haunting, somehow inexplicable." 121
from everyday life to serve as proof of the truth of his literary descriptions. (Figure 21) In photographs such as these, Breton sees "facts which may belong to the order of pure observation, but which on each occasion present all the appearances of a signal, without our being able to say precisely which signal, and of what." 181 As I have established in my first chapter, this aesthetic had been utilized by architectural photographers for nearly a centu ry before being 'discovered' by the Surrealists in Atget's work. What accounts for the surprise and delight upon their encountering Atget's banal photographs? It can be explained by examining Atget's intended viewers. Nesbit explains: A document could not exist alone: it needed a viewer and a job. For a document was actually defined by an exchange, which is to say, by a viewer reading a certain kind of technical information from the picture and by the picture's ability to display just that technical sign. Both were needed for the document to become a document. Atget's documents had a specific audience who recognized the technical signs of architectural preservationist ph otography. Even when Atget warps the technical signs by including undesirable and extraneous contextual information, 182 the documents still perform their job, which is to focus on the architecture. Members of the Surrealist groups, even Berenice Abbott who was more intimately acquainted with the aging photographer and his work, were not likely to have been researching architectural photography in the Parisian archives or to have seen the historical precedent upon which Atget built. Their only exposure to photographs in this mode was in Atget's own studio. 181 Ibid. 61. 182 I will touch on the failure of an empty-street photograph to signify as a lieu de mmoire in the conclusion to this paper. 122
123 Figure 21. Untitled photograph from Nadja ( We have our dinner served outside by the wine seller ). Jacques-Andr Bouffard, 1928.
I have presented the reaction of non-preservationists to Atget's codified emptystreet photographs to show that these individuals were not privy to the collective memory of preservationists, Atget's primary audience. However, anyone familiar with Atget's oeuvre knows that not all of his photographs are in this mode. He also made photographs of crowds and street activity, markets, street peddlers, ch teaux, parks, and modern transportation, just to name a few examples. My study has concentrated on those photodocuments which, by their aesthetic and formal qualities, appealed to groups and individuals concerned with the preservation and immortalization of Paris through images. I also want to make clear that while I argue for these documents as lieux de mmoire I am not contending that every Atget photograph is a site of memory for the same groups. No doubt, by their very nature and due to the supreme blankness of many of Atget's images, documents of other aspects of Parisian life could function as lieux de mmoire for groups with different concerns. 124
CONCLUSION: LIMITATIONS OF LIEU DE M MOIRE AS A METHODOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK In this paper, I have traced the evolution of a particular mode of representing Parisian streets, what I have termed a preservation aesthetic. Empty streets in urban photography originated due to the limitations of a new technology's ability to picture the urban experience of daily life. Over time, new photographic techniques and materials allowed for alternate representations of the streets, but the original set of formal qualities gradually became aestheticized as various official and amateur preservation entities employed photographers to record the physical condition of monuments and streets before demolition. By the turn of the twentieth century, the aesthetic had become codified and concretized; it became a site of memory for its preservationist viewers who invested photographs of old architectural structures with the same nationalist memories they imagined the architecture itself to contain. I have constructed a narrative proposing a communal memory among architectural preservationists and historicists who propagated the pictorial mode within their social and professional groups as a way to guard against the eventual destruction of national memory and to construct a collective architectural patrimony. Throughout this study, my primary theoretical framework has been Pierre Nora's concept of the lieu de mmoire or site of memory as a stand-in for living memory. Nora describes his own experience of the gap between lived historical experience and the 125
intellectual experience of studying history as a foundational moment for the development of his ideas. Until 1979, French law dictated public archives remain sealed for sixty to one hundred twenty years, necessarily creating a long period during which 'recent' historical events would not be studied by historians, and therefore only examined within the context of political science. 183 Nora developed his theory out of the awakening of a historiographical consciousness in France. In other words, the self-conscious interrogation of historiography as it relates to attempts to expand the basis for collective memory, which crystallized during the Third Republic, is one development which led to Nora's conception of lieux de mmoire 184 The study of historiography, according to Nora, is itself a site of memory, evidenced by a turn to examination and analysis, a desire to systematically fix meaning, rather than simply continuing within the vein of tradition. Nora's characterization of the site of memory can make it seem a foregone conclusion th at anything and everything is destined to become a lieu de mmoire, or else be forgotten. Essentially, might not every deliberately preserved reference to the past in the present have an overdetermined history which ensured its survival? Likewise, are there not an infinite number of ruptures, nested and overlapping, in collective memory or social practice? The study of lieux de mmoire must by definition privilege those sites with a recorded history because of the empirical research necessary to trace its formation and concretization. As initially imagined, this project would have attempted to historicize the urban spaces photographed by Atget to discern whether he is referencing the collective 183 Nora, Rethinking France: Les Lieux de Mmoire vol. 1, ix. 184 Nora, "Between Mem ory and His tory," 9. 126
memories of neighborhood inhabitants. Why were these particular spaces important for archival preservation, especially those that are not reflective of the preservationist mindset of Atget's clients? Why did he return to certain locations several times throughout his career? By explicating the already existing symbolic meaning within various areas of Paris, and attempting to locate these markers within Atget's pictures, it may become possible for a future study to examine photographs of areas of indeterminate historical significance and search out possible indicators of significance to the Parisian memory. The complications, however, of examining Parisian urban space, whose signification is always and already overdetermined within the collective imagination, may prove to be overly complex simply because of the existence of layered strata of signification of many areas of Paris. 185 Furthermore, this approach may lead to creating a state of overdetermination where one would not otherwise exist. The primary conceit of Nora's framework assumes a culture's self-consciousnes s and its desire for archival preservation in the face of erasure. The lieu de mmoire cannot exist without the archival "support" for the living memo ry it can only exist for sites that have a modicum of continuity; therefore application of this framework is limited to those groups or societies who already attempt to represent their history. 186 Even if a certain social group had experienced a particular tradition, rupture, and return, if none of these 185 As any visitor to Paris can attest, the sheer number of memorial sites in the form of plaques on buildings where famous men and women lived, where people died, statues, street names (and so on) can make it seem that there is not a space in the entire city that does not yet have some sort of memorial signification. 186 It is for this reason that I fe lt it necessary to qualify the criticism of Haussmann by Baudelaire, Hugo, Zola, and the Goncourt brothers which is cited by T.J. Clark. Their criticisms have come to stand in for the common opinion of Parisians reactions to Haussmann. However, these are the critics that are most often cited, and whose writings have been preserved and analyzed since they have all been deemed to have been important thinkers of the time. Therefore their opinions may be overdet ermined. 127
things were recorded and preserved, the site of memory could not be said to exist. Therefore, while the lieu de mmoire framework is appropriate for investigating remnants of the past in the present where an established historiography exists without a historical archive of considerable breadth and depth, the attempt to identify lieux de mmoire will fail. The lieu de mmoire is inherently a history of representations. Vieux Paris in Contradistinction to Lieu de Mmoire Before concluding, I would like t o introduce a final photograph by Atget to exemplify the complications I have identified above. In the photograph crivain Public, Rue de la Montagne Sainte Genevive (Figure 22), Atget's choices differ from the preferences of antiquarians in two ways: by showing evidence of the passage of time and of the encroachment of modernity. Many Atget scholars have characterized his work as expressive of a personal nostalgic vision, or as the personal project of a man who is mourning the changes to his heroic city, in other words, sharing the concerns of his preservationist patrons. Ultimately, i t is my contention that attempts to fit Atget within the same mentality that spawned the exposition's Vieux Paris are continually shortcircuited by his democratic treatment of subject matter. Preservationists valued particular types of historical structures, those that often had a long and prestigious historical lineage. Throughout his prolific career, Atget did not prioritize those areas of Paris canonized by antiquarians as old, historic, and valuable. Indeed, it is because he also gave attention to a generous cross section of subjects not of interest to vieux Parisians street peddlers, rag-pickers, and the zoniers of the banlieue 128
129 Figure 22. crivain Public, Rue de la Montagne-Sainte-Genevive. Eugne Atget, 1899. Albumen print from glass negative, 17.8 x 22.1 cm. Bibliothque National de France, Paris.
that he is known as 'the photographer of Paris.' What happens when the preservation aesthetic is applied to less dignified structures than those I have heretofore analyzed? On this corner of old Paris, we are shown, not picturesque medieval turrets and towers, but instead a small dilapidated shop enclosing a courtyard. From the title, we know this small shanty is where one would have found an crivain public a person who would read documents, write letters, or complete administrative paperwork for an illiterate public. This aging structure lacks the noble lineage of the H tel de Sens or the Place Saint-Andre-des-Arts. Gaps at the bottom of the faade, where the sagging wall does not quite meet the sidewalk, show how the building has settled as it has aged. Dominating the right mid-ground is a more solidly grounded, but no better maintained, building, the exterior walls of which are painted advertising cuisine bourgeoise The name of the business, "Au Vieux Paris," capitalizes on both its location on the historic hill in the fifth arrondissement named for the ancient patron saint of Paris and Parisians' frenzied consumption of medieval goods and culture in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The title, assigned by Atget, partnered with the composition of the picture indicate the scribe's shop is the focus, yet the sign for the crivain is visible only when one studies the picture closely attached to the wall next to the advertisement for Kola-Coca is a small painter's palette-shaped sign reading "Dame crivain. (Figure 23) It is hidden in the foliage of the tree and simply cannot compete with the text and pictures of the lithographed ads and the restaurant. What dominates the picture is the text on the back of the restaurant, "Au Vieux Paris," to the point of serving as a caption for the picture. Thus 130
131 Figure 23. Detail, crivain Public, Rue de la Montagne-Sainte-Genevive
the enormous text advertising the name of the restaurant alerts the viewer that this, too, is old Paris. The evocation of vieux Paris contrasts brutally with the features in the left half of the picture. The farthest wall is completely filled with an advertisement for Lu Biscuits. A well-circulated Cheret lithograph 187 advertising the Palais de Glace and a large poster promoting the superiority of Pompadour pasta were, at the time of this photograph, the exposed strata of layered lithography. An empty sidewalk and cobblestone street in the foreground gives the viewer a space within which he could imagine the inhabitants and daily routines of the neighborhood occupants. What manner of residents and activities a viewer would imagine would likely vary: the posters and well-kept apartment buildings indicate a contemporary reading, while the crumbling edifice of the crivain public itself a service becoming less necessary by the end of the century, 188 would evoke an older way of life. The picture of the city block on which the crivain public worked stands as a direct counterpoint to the concerns of Robida, Edwards, and other preservationists who continually sought to exclude signs of modern life in their images of old Paris. 189 Rather, 187 Cheret, Palais de Glace (18 96) identified in Lucy Broido, The Posters of Jules Ch ret (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1992). Figure 83 (95), entry in catalogue raisonn no. 368 (18). 188 The Jules Ferry laws, ena cted in 1881 established free (and one year later mandatory) laic education for boys and girls under age 15. 189 Nesbit, Seven Albums, 104. Nesbit here gives several examples of photographs wherein Atget compromised the timelessness that preservationists desired above all. One example is a picture Atget sold to an antiquarian society containing a cart visible in the foreground. Before publishing the photograph, the editors removed the cart from the picture. (104). Similarly, a photograph of the facade of the H tel Chalons Luxembourg necessitated Atget turn his camera to a more oblique angle, and thereby included the adjacent shopfronts and small boys observing the photographer. When published, the facade was cropped to its most essential, in other words, the architectural detail surrounding the grand entryway (63-65). Finally, and perhaps most absurdly, even the remains of a puddle on the street was enough evidence of contingency and mutability to distract from th e otherwise stately entrance to the H tel de la Monnaie (110). 132
this version of vieux Paris is teeming with signs and signifiers of the passage of time and of modern life itself. It shows the manner by which urban spaces, even ancient ones, function like a palimpsest. Old and new features co-exist, one supplanting and overlapping the other, covering but not completely erasing all traces of the older existence and embodying different stages or epochs of time. By focusing on the building's degenerating condition, Atget's picture draws attention to the passage of time within the space, including details considered extraneous and incompatible with preservationist desires. Because the twentieth-century preservationist viewer is already hyper-attuned to the issues at stake regarding the precariousness of vieux Paris, the picture operates as a referent to the passage of time, exactly what antiquarians wanted to efface in their preferred images of the old city. Atget exploits this by including within the picture allusions to numerous temporalities or life spans within the frame: the temporality of the tree; that of the crivain the building and the vocation, perhaps even the individual; the ephemerality of the advertisements, the shortest-lived feature; the lifespan of the business, the building, and the food within; and finally that of the entirety of vieux Paris as is forced into the viewer's mind by the painted text, which just happens to be disintegrating with the crumbling stucco. Though there are no people visible in the picture, the ghosting in the center of the frame between the bottom of the picture plane and the edge of the sidewalk, indicates the motion of some form of street traffic, another temporality and a quick one at that too fast to be recorded on the plate. A final temporality is activated by the viewer who is implicated 133
within a more deliberate scheme as he or she looks slowly and closely at the image, replicating what Atget himself did just before the plate's exposure. Each of these referents, with its lifespan or duration of varying length, would encourage the viewer to make comparisons between elements within the image. For instance, between the shop of the crivain and the apartment building behind it, between the peeling stucco and the recently pasted-up lithographs, between the street traffic that is too fast for the picture and the photographer who carefully framed the shot. By composing the frame to include the wider street view rather than focusing only on the old structure Atget comments on the contingency of modern life. This photograph would not have pleased preservationists as a proper document of vieux Paris. There is too much twentieth-century looming at the edges. Preservationists preferred the historic components of the city to appear as pristine as when each was completed, without any signs of the passage of time. One cannot predict what elements of the past will survive into the future and what may be important for posterity, but preservationists were certain that modern life could be excluded. Loaded with detail, this photograph denies the nostalgic interpretation of vieux Paris, and disrupts the neat historical narrative preferred by preservationist viewers. This picture represents an urban palimpsest wherein time is translated into a spatial manifestation in a cluttered patchwork. Vieux does not always mean quaint, charming, or containing the heroic memories of the past. It may also means dirty, dilapidated, crumbling, covered over, and sometimes abandoned, just like the modern areas of the city. 190 Conversely, it is impossible to ignore the passage of time or the encroachment of 190 Charles Dickens published a guidebook to Paris in the form of a dictionary of terms a visitor was likely 134
modernity into these vieux spaces historical and modern coexisted in the quartiers of Paris, even surrounding the supreme example of historic architecture, Htel de Sens. Nora's methodology becomes problematic when one is confronted with numerous sites of signification as within Paris, for instance. How does the historian prioritize what collective memory is being crystallized within the social, national, professional, or regional groups that overlap and interact within a city? How do various sites of memory inform and influence each other? 191 And what of the collective memories of groups that have no representations or written history to research? Are we to assume that they live in a culture of milieux de mmoire ? Nora's binary system does not readily accommodate the collective memory of groups which experienced a rupture and return to tradition, but which lack self-representation. Nora's study was initially conceived to study the French past. As the lieux de mmoire framework has been adapted by scholars in other fields since its original conception, perhaps some of these problematic issues will be addressed. Simply because a lieu de mmoire can be identified in some of Atget's photographs does not mean he was an automaton at the service of collective memory. There are cracks in the faade of vieux Paris where other possibilities occur, where the contingency and vicissitudes of modern life in a metropolis seep in and challenge the dominant reading. Atget's formal and compositional choices in depicting the shop to encounter while in Paris. For the entry labeled "Old Paris," Dickens acknowledged that which some Parisians were unwilling to admit. "With the exception of old historical houses that have belonged to private families, and to which particular attention has been bestowed, 'Old Paris,' as the phrase is, is disappearing; and let us acknowledge that we have not much cause to regret it. For Old Paris meant, and means still, Dirty Paris, though the latter expression is not poetical." Charles Dickens, Dickens's Dictionary of Paris, An Unconventional Handbook (London: MacMillan & Co, 1882): 179. 191 Emery, "Protecting the Past," 76-77. Emery argues lieux de mmoire were created simply based on proximity to other replicated edifices that had a meaning within the Parisian collective memory, creating the possibility for a viral transference of retroactive significance. While this is not an unreasonable conclusion based on Nora's qualifications of lieux de mmoire, the problematics and ramifications of a site of memory transmitting those qualities to something based on proximity is not addressed by Emery. 135
indicate that lieux de mmoire are not fait accompli. Their existence depends on sympathetic replication of the codified behavior that led to their formation. Atget does not always cooperate with the unwritten rules of photography bound for the archive; he does not always seem to be a completely willing participant in the collective dream of vieux Parisiens 192 Atget's own agency in recording the Paris of his experience acts to subvert the collective memories referenced b y this site. He chose to allow the seepage of modernity into his work as a way to negotiate the difference between the mythic image of vieux Paris and the representation of Paris as a twentieth century metropolis. 192 Atget's subtle photographic subversions make up one of Nesbit's core themes in Atget's Seven Albums 136
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