Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I'll find you in the morning sun

Above all, life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference.

—Robert Frank

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.

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