Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Willy Ronis | Le Nu Provençal

with 6 comments

The Telegraph says he was more artistic than Doisneau and less patrician than Cartier-Bresson; like those masters to whom he is frequently compared, Willy Ronis embodied the Golden Age of photography, where photojournalists composed lyrical odes to world-changing events and banal everyday lives alike.

Ronis was best known for a nude of his wife, Marie-Anne Lansiaux, bending over a sink in a rustic bathroom. The photo was almost like a Bonnard painting and reflected that easy rustic feel of country life. Ronis remembered:

We had a little 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 naked 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.”

He met the jewel painter, Marie-Anne,when both of them fled to Provence after the German Occupation of France in 1940. They were married after the war, when he also joined the French Communists at the urging of Marie-Anne, who was more militantly political.

Soon afterwards, they bought the above cottage in a Provençal town known for its artist communes. Willy divided his career between the countryside and the capital, gradually becoming a world-renowned photographer. The couple lived in that small cottage until Marie-Anne’s death in 1991, by which time Ronis’s career had come a full circle: in his last major work, he photographed Marie-Anne, now with Alzheimer’s, sitting alone in a park surrounded by autumn trees in a touching collection of photographs chronicled her gradual decline and increasing isolation.

Ronis died in 2009.

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

July 24, 2012 at 5:19 pm

6 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Great story!

    krossmann

    July 24, 2012 at 5:28 pm

  2. [...] on iconicphotos.wordpress.com Évaluez ceci :Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintJ'aime ceci:J'aimeBe the first to like [...]

  3. i always love seeing those contact sheets whilst wondering what thoughts were thought during the selection process. how there’s her face in two of the pictures. what a difference her posture makes. the way her shadow interacts with the light. side by side, or blocking it. how the one Ronis selected is the least sexy but the one capturing a somewhat surreal moment.
    thanks for posting this and thanks for this excellent blog.

    Dominik Unger

    July 25, 2012 at 11:45 am

  4. [...] Ronis was best known for a nude of his wife, Marie-Anne Lansiaux, bending over a sink in a rustic bathroom. The photo was almost like a Bonnard painting and reflected that easy rustic feel of country life…” (Iconic Photos). [...]

  5. Does anyone know how to get copies of the photos of his wife standing at the sink instead of
    leaning over it?
    Thank You,
    John

    John Kraft

    December 29, 2013 at 8:24 pm

  6. Reblogged this on Photography/Film.

    bayramgozlugol

    January 28, 2014 at 12:43 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,315 other followers

%d bloggers like this: