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Willy Ronis, Selfportrait of a Photographer

  • France
  • 2003
  • fr
  • English
  • 55'

Willy Ronis embraced with humanism the great social subjects of the 20th century. For this film, he joins in the game of self-portraiture. He looks back on his beginnings, the big issues that shaped his art and the battles he fought so that his photos do not serve as mere illustrations in the press. Browsing through his archives, he delves into the history of his iconic images and invites us to experience the few minutes that preceded them. He also tells us about the importance of baroque music and Flemish painting in his apprenticeship as a photographer, moulding over time a polyphonic art.

Willy Ronis, Selfportrait of a Photographer
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Synopsis

Willy Ronis embraced with humanism the great social subjects of the 20th century. For this film, he joins in the game of self-portraiture. He looks back on his beginnings, the big issues that shaped his art and the battles he fought so that his photos do not serve as mere illustrations in the press. Browsing through his archives, he delves into the history of his iconic images and invites us to experience the few minutes that preceded them. He also tells us about the importance of baroque music and Flemish painting in his apprenticeship as a photographer, moulding over time a polyphonic art.

What you will find in this film

What photography represents to Willy Ronis • His great photos • A series of self-portraits taken throughout his life • Willy Ronis' family history • A father who is a neighbourhood photographer • His first picture as a photojournalist • His vocation to be a composer • His passion for painting • Painting which taught him photographic composition • The baroque composer baroque who inspired verticality in him • His extreme sensitivity to music • His first photographic bedazzlement • His interest in the east of Paris • The stories behind his great photos • His attachment to the working class and the world of mining • His commitment in the 1940s to have the work of photographers recognised as fully-fledged journalists • Why he stopped offering social subjects to certain magazines • Willy Ronis teacher • The Provencal period • His need to link motion to reflection • His search for balance in the frame • His photograph where luck played the biggest part! • His theory of global vision • The importance of ternary rhythm in art • His "repetition" photos • His estimate of the number of pictures he took in his lifetime • How many photographs he still like to exhibit

When you take a photo, the lens isn't attracted to the key point to the exclusion of all else; it swallows everything: the essential, the incidental and the wrong notes.

Film chapters

summary00:00 Composition of the frame and counterpoint

summary08:32 Paris

summary14:29 Workers' subjects

summary23:18 The right to review captions

summary27:08 Provencal life

summary40:48 Global vision

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Further exploration

• PARIS RONIS - artist: Willy Ronis ; 2018 ; Flammarion ; bilingual edition

• WILLY RONIS BY WILLY RONIS: THE MASTER PHOTOGRAPHER’S UNPUBLISHED ALBUMS - author: Matthieu Rivallin ; 2018 ; Flammarion

• WILLY RONIS - authors: Alexander Gaude, Jean-Claude Gautrand, Markus Müller and Ann-Katrin Hahn ; 2013 ; Kehrer Verlag ; bilingual edition

• WILLY RONIS: LA VIE EN PASSANT - authors: Sylvia Bohmer and Matthias Harder ; 2005 ; Prestel ; bilingual edition

• WILLY RONIS - directed by Jean-Claude Gautrand ; 2005 ; Taschen

• WILLY RONIS - author: Paul Ryan ; 2002 ; Phaidon Press

• SUNDAYS BY THE RIVER - author: Noel Simsolo ; 1999 ; Smithsonian Books

• WILLY RONIS: PHOTOGRAPHS, 1926-1995 - author: Peter Hamilton ; 1995 ; Museum of Modern Art

• WILLY RONIS, 1934-1987 - author: Hiromi Nakamura ; 1991 ; Editions Treville

• ON CHANCE’S EDGE - artist: Willy Ronis ; 1991 ; Contrejour