Above all, life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference.
Le Nu Provencal, 1949
French photographer Willy Ronis is perhaps best known for the nude
image of his wife, Marie-Anne Lansiaux in a rustic cottage.
We had a stone cottage at Gordes. It was a hot summer, and I was repairing the attic. I needed a trowel, so I came down and there was Marie-Anne standing on the stone flags, washing herself from the tin basin. 'Don't move,' I said and, my hands full of plaster, I grabbed my Rolleiflex and took four shots. It was the second shot which I chose. It took two minutes in all. Miracles exist, I experienced it. I have never been so anxious as when I developed that film. I felt that, if the image was good, technically and aesthetically, it would be a major moment in my life, a prosaic moment of extraordinary poetry.
Portrait of his Beloved wife, Marie-Anne, 1988
Ronis photographed Marie-Anne during the summer of 1988; she was suffering from Alzheimer's, the disease that would claim her life just a few years later. She is tiny in the landscape, just to the left of the light colored bush.
This photo is very dear to me. I can't speak of it any further. Marie-Anne became part of nature, of the leaves, like a small insect, in the bushes. We lived together for 46 years.