Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quote of the Day - John Szarkowski on Atget

Eugene Atget, Versailles, escalier de l'Orangerie, 1901

"Good pictures are not explained by words, and in the case of the best pictures a writer would be well-advised to save his paper"

Fortunately Szarkowski does not heed his own advice. He continues:

"I have no idea where this picture gets its hallucinatory, threatening power. Perhaps it has something to do with the apparent counterclockwise cant of the picture, although the verticals are erect; perhaps it is the brilliant sky, shaped like a sheet of half-burned note paper; or perhaps it is the low vantage point, that suggests that we are crawling toward the stairway on our hands and knees, pulling behind us an intolerable burden."

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