- Maria Morris Hambourg
(b Libourne, nr Bordeaux, Feb 12, 1857; d Paris, Aug 4, 1927).
French photographer. An only child of working-class parents, he was orphaned at an early age and went to sea. Determined to be an actor, he managed to study at the Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique in Paris for a year but was dismissed to finish his military service. Thereafter he acted for several seasons in the provinces but failed to distinguish himself and left the stage. An interest in painting but lack of facility led him to take up photography in the late 1880s. At this time photography was experiencing unprecedented expansion in both commercial and amateur fields. Atget entered the commercial arena. Equipped with a standard box camera on a tripod and 180×240 mm glass negatives, he gradually made some 10,000 photographs of France that describe its cultural legacy and its popular culture. He printed his negatives on ordinary albumen-silver paper and sold his prints to make a living. Despite the prevailing taste for soft-focus, painterly photography from ...