This paper is about Le Corbusier being in possession of some of photographer Eugène Atget's photos. Le Corbusier used them to illustrate urban planning concepts in his books. The focus is on the period between 1931 and 1945, roughly corresponding to the time between the two world wars. It is a period of major changes in principles of the European art world. This paper chronicles how Le Corbusier's writings and his outlook on Paris, the people, and living conditions had evolved.
First, I clarified the points of contact between Le Corbusier and the Surrealists. Then, I investigated the chronology of how Le Corbusier could have acquired Atget's photos. Atget died in 1927. Three years after that, in 1930, Atget's first photo album was released. The very same year, Le Corbusier worked with the Surrealists, such as André Breton, on the avant-garde magazine Minotaure. Two of Atget's photos were found in Le Corbusier's collection, to which I present two possible ways in which they might have been acquired:
1: Le Corbusier might have purchased the photos at Atget’s atelier while Atget was still alive.
2: Le Corbusier might have gotten the photos from the artists working on the aforementioned "Minotaure" in 1930.
I have found a reference to "Jeannuot of Dessinateurs Industrielles" on Atget's list of clients, but it is yet to be confirmed whether this person is Charles Edouard Jeanneret or Pierre Jeanneret.
Subsequently, I have verified that Le Corbusier used Atget's photos in three of his books. In "Plans No. 2" (1931), "Le Ville Radieuse" (1935), and "Le Lyrisme des Temps Nouveaux et L’Urbanisme (1939), he used some of those pictures in the chapter called “Menace sur Paris”, where he expressed his concern over the situation in Paris and described his vision of an ideal city. The pictures were combined with a sketch of “Plan Voisin”, and it can be said that they were a part of Le Corbusier's city planning concepts. In 1931, three of Atget's photos were used. I found that in 1939 only one of his photos was used, together with Le Corbusier's sketch. On the other hand, in "Précisions" (1930), only the sketch of the Plan Voisin was used, while none of Atget's photos was included. Hence, this leads me to conclude that Le Corbusier changed the attitude towards Atget's photos during this decade.
Finally, I have presented a description of the situation in Paris from 1930 to 1940, and the subsequent period until the beginning of the Second World War in France. In Paris of 1932, infectious diseases - such as cholera and tuberculosis - spread mainly around unsanitary environments, and an adjustment - based on modern ways of thinking - was necessary. Le Corbusier immersed himself in research actively and searched for a new vision for Paris. Le Corbusier aimed at an environment where humans can live healthier and more sanitary lives, and in his vision of the future there was no place for the old Paris present in Atget's photos.
Photographs change our sense of reality. In addressing that statement, we should reflect upon where problems arise from the nature of the photograph itself: the intertwining of the camera, a piece of mechanical equipment, with the actions of the photographer. We are dealing with an image apportioned and equalized over a flat surface, a restricted reality. In considering it, our biased feelings, to which we have an almost religious attachment, call into question the act of seeing through the intervention of the camera, and ambiguity sets in at the point at which one takes a stance of probing the relationship between self and reality.
Today, when sophisticated information exchanges are the core of life and the exchange value of objects is stressed more than their material value, photographs acquire meaning through their use as a medium for communicating information. The repetitions of information-carrying media that necessarily develop in an information - intensive society act upon those on the receiving end through optical illusions and psychological effects - powerful afterimage effects and surrogate experiences. That process engenders a bias towards photographic images.
Fernand Léger's film "Ballet Mécanique" (1923 - 24) is one of the most important avant-garde film of the 1920's. It is a film in which we find only the moving images and fragments of machines. In this paper, I attempt to reveal the production process of the film, and consider Léger's concepts of art through analysis of the elements of its motifs.
It is clear that Léger made this film under the influence of the Ballets Suédois and Abel Gance's film "The Wheel". The art scene in the early 1920's was leaning toward image arts, and Léger experimented visually on screen by using contrasts-abstractions composed of natural elements in mechanical environments. He insisted that the subject of pictorial works were "the ambiguity" between them.
Photograph composed of functions brought about by three factors, such as Optics, Chemistry and Time. Vision to invade into human brain without one's knowledge. This tenor of this statement is whether it is possible for these two ever to melt together inside the picture. This writer, being a photographer, is to give its report on…thinking of every shooting theme from the scene.
Its contents are described in the five items coverring <Of Sea-on the Waves>, <Of White Human Shadow>, <Of Subjects>, <Of Paintings by Monet>, <Of Details and Content of Photographs>.