Willy Ronis (1910–2009) was one of the great photographers of the twentieth century. Selected by MoMA curator Edward Steichen for inclusion in two groundbreaking exhibitions, The Family of Man and Five French Photographers, his work depicts the poetic and poignant reality of life in postwar France. From carefree children to embracing lovers, and from sun-dappled Provence to the cobblestones of Paris, Ronis’s humanist eye found joy in the simplest moments of everyday life.
In his last decades, Ronis donated his complete works to the French State. To accompany this gift, he made a personal selection of what he considered to be his most noteworthy images—590 in total—mounting them in a series of albums and providing meticulous commentary on each photograph. Combining anecdotes with historical and technical context, they constitute an essential document on the photographer’s long career.
This exceptional volume reproduces, in full, the contents of Ronis’s albums for the first time. Together they form a touching, intimate portrait of the life, career, and worldview of a singular artist in the history of photography.