Eugène Atget (February 12, 1857 – August 4, 1927) was a French photographer noted for his photographs documenting the architecture and street scenes of Paris.
An inspiration for the surrealists and other artists, his work only gained wide attention after his death.Born outside the French city of Bordeaux, he was orphaned at seven and raised by his uncle. In the 1870s, after finishing his education, Atget briefly became a sailor and cabin boy on liners in the Transatlantic. Between 1897 and 1927 Atget captured the old Paris in his pictures. In addition to architecture and the urban environment, he also photographed street-hawkers, small tradesmen, rag collectors and prostitutes, as well as fairs and popular amusements in the various districts.
The Museum of Modern Art purchased Abbott's collection of Atget's work in 1968, and now has some 5,000 of his prints and negatives in its possession. Abbott wrote of Atget: "He was an urbanist historian, a Balzac of the camera, from whose work we can weave a large tapestry of French civilization."