Atget. Sceaux, mars, 7 h. matin. 1925.
I realize that it's like falling off a log for MOMA to do this show, but the prints have so much more shadow detail that you can see even in the books with the best reproduction. The statue above actually still has its head, which is something I never could see in the reproduction in the one-volume Atget/Szarowski book published in 2000. This MOMA jpg shows it a bit, but the print is much much better.
I went to MOMA today to see the Atget show, and afterwards walked through the rest of the photos galleries. I saw a one-light Avedon portrait from 1965, and leaning in to examine the catch-lights in the eyes -- it looks like a plain old strobe and umbrella -- I think I recognized Avedon's silhouette at the edge of the catchlight. I remember seeing him stand beside the camera in that Laura Wilson picture of him shooting in the West: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117983002?refCatId=2870 He may have been doing that here.
You can see the full portrait of Lady Eliot here: http://postimage.org/image/213wdsbms/
"James Early Ray's clothes on rack" is another photograph taken by Memphis photographer Gil Michael in 1968 and not made public unti now.
Michael took a number of photographs on Ray's return to Memphis from London. He had been arrested at Heathrow on June 8.
According to Marc Perrusqui in the Commercial Appeal, Bill Morris, the then-sheriff, hired Michael to shoot Ray's arrival at the jaill:
Morris said he brought in Michael, then an employee at Memphis State University, to document that Ray wasn't being mistreated. One picture Michael shot showing Morris escorting Ray into the jail was disseminated that night to the news media.
But the rest of Michael's photos were sealed up. Michael said the sheriff's office confiscated his negatives.
So on one level, the images are basic work-for-hire, bureaucratic documentary work, the sheriff's pictures to do with as he pleases. But at the same time Michael clearly aspires to something much bigger.
Consider his amazing anti-mug shot -- http://eetheridge.posterous.com/james-earl-rays-backwards-facing-mug-shot -- or as I have come to think of it, The Faceless Assassin.
Who made that stunning pose? Ray? The sheriff?
Perrusqui says that Ray had been "helplessly shoved into a corner by his captors at the Shelby County Jail."
Is Michael working for himself -- and us? I don't know.
I do know that the picture above knocks me out.