I love this photograph, which will be featured on the FAQ page of my updated website, mostly because all the books in this image answer all sorts of questions. It’s taken by Eugene Atget around 1910 in Paris. I’m a sucker for a sepia print, but also know I’d be drawn to this stall were it still around today. The roof of the structure folds down when it’s time to close, and if you look closely, you can see that it’s held up by books.
While he had been recognized for his talent by Man Ray and a bunch of impressionist painters that you’ve heard of, Atget was otherwise unknown and never considered himself a professional photographer, becoming famous only after his death. There are now many books about him, a collection of his work at MoMA and perhaps most importantly, a crater on the planet Mercury is named after him.
Were he to know, I wonder what his reaction would be.