Atget ran a photography business that provided source material for artists at the turn of the century. This photograph is one of many he took of petits métiers, or “small tradespeople”––street hawkers who sold various goods and services—long a favored subject for artists and illustrators. Atget ended this series around 1900, likely because rapid modernization caused small tradespeople to be replaced by storefronts. By photographing these workers at close range with the tools of their trade, he recorded a once essential feature of Parisian urban life during a time of dramatic change.
Gallery label from 2022