Men's Fashions, Avenue des Gobelins, 1925
Newark, New Jersey, 1962
October 5th, 2020
This photograph by Lee Friedlander, taken along a parade route in Newark, exemplifies the formative influence of Eugène Atget on his work. Friedlander's picture is able to deliver a great amount of information by looking in two directions at once. Using the reflections in a diner's window, Friedlander shows us the waiter and young boy as well as what they are seeing - the parade passing by outside the restaurant. The photograph by Atget demonstrates his earlier use of the same technique. Atget's picture shows us both the window display of a menswear shop as well as the reflection of Gobelins Manufactory, the historic Parisian tapestry factory on the opposite side of its namesake avenue.
Examined together, the Friedlander brings out the subtle humanism in Atget's picture, the waiter's hands-on-hips posture is echoed in the bent elbows of the mannequins. Conversely, the menswear store in Atget's photo is echoed in the tailor shops reflected by Friedlander's diner (hint: look next to the "Mell-O-Made Ice Cream" sign).