There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
When people think of the photographic chroniclers of old Paris, they generally think of Eugène Atget, who lugged around an archaic large-format camera in the early 20th century, documenting disappearing buildings and streetscapes. But Atget had a less well-known antecedent in the mid-1800s: Charles Marville. Paris officials tapped Marville to photograph the city both before and after the landmark renovations ordered by Emperor Napoleon III and carried out by Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann—changes that turned a dilapidated medieval city into a grand capital with broad boulevards, walkways, and parks. The National Gallery of Art is mounting the first U.S. retrospective of Marville’s work, featuring 100 wet-plate images, dominated by his visual chronicle of the changes transforming the city that gave birth to photography.