The streets of Rue de Seine and Rue de l’Échaudé meet to form an intersection where Eugène Atget originally decided to take a photograph. Atget’s photograph featured the side of a building located on this intersection. Rauschenberg decided to retrace Atget’s steps and once again photograph the intersection and its building. When going back to the same intersection to once again recreate the photograph, we discovered that the building is still there. Only slight changes have been made since both Atget and Rauschenberg’s photographs, proving that Paris has not changed much when it comes to buildings. As for the location of our photograph, the area is mostly filled with art galleries, and the building in the photograph fits in seamlessly as art galleries fill the store fronts of the building. Furthermore, the presence of art galleries embodies the character of the Saint-Germain des Prés neighborhood where the intersection is located. Overall, the area felt like a local hang out tucked away in the city.
When Atget photographed this building in 1924, the façade was pretty torn up. The exterior of the building appears to be falling apart with parts of the building literally peeling off and whole sections missing. Furthermore, the bottom half of the building is darker than the top half, and there are flyers plastered on the window. There also appears to be a larger poster placed above the window. Rauschenberg photographed the same intersection in 1997 as a part of his Photographing Atget project. However, by this point, the outside of the building had been fixed because in Rauschenberg’s photograph the façade is pristine. Furthermore, the lower half of the building had been lightened to match the rest of the building. Also, the molding was reconstructed to be more prominent, and an inscription or design in the building replaced the massive poster above the window. However, there was graffiti on the building and there was a poster hanging up in the big window. Rauschenberg’s photograph also shows how a crosswalk and parallel parking lines had been added to the streets. Poles at the edge of the sidewalk also seem to have been added. Today, the building looks much like it did in Rauschenberg’s photograph except the name of the art gallery located in the corner of the building is clearly visible and the graffiti is gone. There is still a poster hanging in the corner window, albeit a different poster. The street markings and poles are still there. Although there have been changes made to the building, there have not been any dramatic changes. The fact that this very building still exists and that only slight changes that been made to the façade proves that Paris has not changed much over time in regards to buildings. Paris seems to only make necessary changes when it comes to construction, such as fixing the façade of a building or painting a cross walk. While Paris might be a modern, metropolitan city, it has chosen to leave as much of the original construction of the buildings as possible.
The building being photographed in these famous pictures in located on the intersection of Rue de Seine and Rue de l’Échaudé. This intersection is located in the sixth arrondissement of the city in the Saint-Germain des Prés neighborhood which is on the left bank, or Rive Gauche. The Rive Gauche is known for its high-end shopping and elegance, and the Saint Germain des Prés neighborhood is specifically known for its rich cultural history. Local artists seem to have taken up an affinity for this intersection and the surrounding streets because this area is filled with high end galleries of local artists. High end art seems to be a perfect combination of the Rive Gauche and Saint-Germain des Prés. The character of the building Atget photographed seems to fit in perfectly with the rest of the neighborhood. The style matches the rest of the buildings, and the art gallery located on the very intersection of the photograph fits in with the other art galleries surrounding it. However, it is not exclusively art galleries as a few of the storefronts are occupied by high end shops such as The Kooples, Majestic Filatures, Isabel Marant, and Jerome Dreyfuss. And of course, there is the occasional café or boulangerie. Unfortunately, due to the angle of both Atget’s photo and Rauschenberg’s photo, it is hard to tell what sort of shops existed when these pictures were taken. But currently, the area is filled with art galleries.
Furthermore, the area where we took our photograph feels very local as it is not filled with commercialized shops and restaurants. We felt as if we were surrounded by true Parisians, not tourists, enjoying a sunny afternoon. Unless they were looking to purchase art, tourists would really have no reason to visit the intersection of these two streets where this photograph was taken. There was even this little hidden park not too far from the building where people were sitting on benches talking or reading. There was a group of young, Parisian adults playing a game and enjoying a bottle of wine. It was also in a way residential because there are apartments above all the art galleries and shops, including the building in the photo. The way these streets were tucked into the neighborhood as a whole made it feel almost like a hideaway for Parisians who want to get away from tourists and heavily commercialized areas.
Overall, the three photographs prove that much has changed about the little corner of the intersection of Rue de Seine and Rue de l’Échaudé. The outside of the building has seen minor changes, and street markings have been added. But in general, the building has remained pretty much the same. The streets that make up this intersection and the surrounding area are filled with art galleries, and the art galleries seem to reflect the character of the Saint-Germain des Prés neighborhood. The area felt like a local hangout where Parisians go to get away from tourists and commercialization.