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Photographer's Note

Willy Ronis
August 14, 1910 – September 12, 2009

Already there is a theme on TE: A la mémoire de Willy RONIS. This photo is my tribute, a little late, and perhaps not so reminiscent of Ronis's work as the other photos in the theme.

In one of my earlier Introduction page texts I said I was a great fan of the French photographer Willy Ronis. I still have a couple of his prints hanging in my house. A few weeks ago this great photographer died, at the age of 99. Willy Ronis was the son of Jewish refugees, his father from Odessa and mother from Lithuania. By the time he was in his mid-twenties he was making a living as a photographer. Later, after the war, he became a contemporary of Robert Doisneau and Henri Cartier-Bresson, and managed to outlive them quite handsomely. I think his photos are without peer, an unforgettable tribute to Paris and its people.

A few years ago I was wandering near the Hotel de Ville in Paris, in late January, and discovered as I turned a corner that there was a monumental retrospective exhibition of Ronis's career being held in the Hotel de Ville itself! The queue was long, the day was cold in the way that windless, cloudless January days can be, but it was well worth the wait on the sunless side of the building, and the huge crowd pressing inside, to see the enormous collection of photographs by this great artist.

My own photo is not meant to represent Willy's style, but I converted to b/w to echo the mood of many of his pictures; it was taken a few weeks before I walked fortuitously around that corner. The b/w finish is a kind of tribute I suppose. It was taken on an even colder morning in the Marais (snow can be seen on the grass) looking into the tiny but beautiful Square Georges Cain in Rue Payenne. The sculpture is called 'Dawn', created by Laurent Magaier in the 17th century.

Some of Willy Ronis's photos can be seen here or here.
It has been said that this nude, taken of his wife in their kitchen in 1949 is his most famous. But my favourite is this one.

The workshop shows the line of people waiting to enter the exhibition on the Rue de Rivoli side of the Hotel de Ville. I could find two other photos on TE of the line outside this same exposition.

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Additional Photos by Andrew McRae (macondo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2995 W: 101 N: 5253] (20449)
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