Remembering Elliott Erwitt’s “Provence 1955”

In “Provence 1955,” Elliott Erwitt’s iconic black-and-white photograph of French country life, a man pedals a bicycle down a deserted road flanked by two parallel lines of tall trees. A young boy sitting on back of the bike turns around to look at the photographer. Man and boy wear dark berets. Two long baguettes are strapped on the back of the bicycle, their horizontal lines contrasting with the vertical composition of riders, road, and trees. [Source: Grains of Light]Elliott Erwitt, the Magnum photographer who composed this iconic image of French country life in 1955, was honored recently with an Infinity Lifetime Achievement Award and retrospective show at the International Center of Photography in New York. The photo, titled “Provence 1955,” was commissioned by the French government’s tourism office. It’s surely paid decades of dividends for beret-makers and bread-bakers the world over.

NPR had an interview with Erwitt this morning, and Dorie Greenspan’s blog tells more about the photo’s back-story. I retrieved this iteration of the image via Grains of Light. See more of Erwitt’s work — he shot a lot of classic photos in the heyday of Life and Look.

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