This photograph was purchased from Atget in the 1920s by Maurice Utrillo, the painter of the streets of Montmartre. Although the image was recently printed, the negative had been made decades earlier, as part of a series of photographs devoted to the rapidly vanishing street trades, or petits métiers, of Paris. Posed in the street with the attributes of their trades, the knife-sharpener, breadboy, and fishwife were portrayed as stock characters acting generic roles. This image, the masterpiece in the series, broke all the rules. Street musicians cut close to Atget’s bone; these are not types but vividly portrayed individuals, and their engaging performance is to the pose as the hurdy-gurdy’s music is to silence.