For me Atget is where all modern photography starts. His straight forward documentary style is the beginning from which the likes of Walker Evans, Josef Sudek and William Eggleston evolved from.
Atget's work is so primitive and but so on point with regards to the clarity of vision. He intuitively understood how the camera truly sees. Below is a little excerpt that describes Atget's life and work. While I believe the photos presented are not best examples of his work the writing captures what was so special about his work.