Willy Ronis, ‘Avenue Simon Bolivar’, 1950, Argentic

Gelatin silver print

Signature: signed in ink (recto)

About Willy Ronis

Claiming interest in “ordinary people with ordinary lives,” Willy Ronis was among the foremost postwar French photographers, who spent his career roaming the Parisian streets capturing people in love, at work, and at play in lyrical black-and-white images. Like his colleagues Robert Doisneau, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Brassaï, he was a central figure in the “humanist photography” movement, celebrating the poetry in the everyday in warm, witty images. “I have never sought out the extraordinary or the scoop,” he once said. “The beauty of the ordinary was always the source of my greatest emotions.” Ronis honed his sense of proportion and composition working in his parents’ photography studio. He holds the distinction of being the first French staff photographer for LIFE Magazine, and his work was included in Edward Steichen’s seminal “Five French Photographers” (1951) and “The Family of Man” (1955) exhibitions.

French, 1910-2009