Willy Ronis 1910-2009
Willy Ronis died September 12, 2009. The Telegraph of London ran a very nice appraisal of his life and work. It starts:
Willy Ronis, who died on September 12 aged 99, was the last of the great photographers whose images came to define postwar France; like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau, he was an aesthete of photo-reportage and street life, capturing politics and poetry in the humdrum and the everyday.
He was, however, more artistic than Doisneau and less patrician than Cartier-Bresson. Ronis had a tender eye, photographing working-class neighbourhoods where men drank rough wine and children played on the streets.
It can be found here.
Here is a piece on The Atlantic's site that uses his death to discuss "humanism" in photography, then and now.
The only bit of Ronis ephemera I have is a book inscribed to Richard Whelan.
And speaking of Whelan and Capa, it was only recently that I became aware of the Spanish newspaper El Periodico's claim to have put the controversy of the authenticity of "The Falling Soldier" to rest. By comparing the backgrounds in a number of Capa's photos taken around the same time to actual landscapes in Spain, they claim that "The Falling Soldier" was taken somewhere other than where Capa said it was taken and that where it in fact was taken, there was no fighting going on on the day that Capa was there. Therefore, the photo was staged.
If anyone missed this, here are places to go for everything from an overview to...really...more than most of us need to know.
The New York Times had a good piece even if they did come to the party a month late.
The Daily Mail Online has a sequence of photos comparing the landscapes.
Then there is a blog that has literally thousands of words on the subject and hundreds of contemporary photos of the areas where Capa shot. The blog is the work of José Manuel Serrano Esparza of the Leica Historical Society of America and the first part (of ten) is a reprint of an article that he wrote in 2007 about Capa at Cerro Muriano. That culminated 11 years of research on where Capa and Gerda Taro went while covering the Spanish Civil War, the types of cameras and lens Capa used, who the people in the photos were, etc. Part ten of this epic is where he analyzes the research of José Manuel Susperregui, a professor of communications at the Universidad del País Vasco, who put forth the information the news reported.
Parts 2-10, mixed in with articles on Leicas.
And if you're really interested in the history of all this, Luca Pagni has compiled pdf's and reprints of the many voices that weighed in on the subject. They're available on this website. Some of it is in Italian.