I’ve been making use of lazy summer days to catch up on the stacks of travel magazines that have been piling up in our little apartment. Among all the new wanderlust and inspiration happily swimming in my head, I was smitten with the photography in a feature on Lartigue: Life in Color.
Jacques Henri Lartigue is best known for his early black and white work, and the book delves into why that is. It’s both mind-boggling and fascinating, but when color photography was first developed, it was viewed as a crass commercial tool, vastly inferior to the purely artistic black and white medium. Martin Ravache describes the “astonishingly moral vocabulary” applied to color photography, with detractors throwing around words like “corrupted!”
However, because Lartigue considered himself first and foremost a painter– but only an amateur photographer– he had little investment (or interest) in the purist attitudes of his contemporaries. No doubt his proto-hippie attitude toward life: living frugally, surrounded by nature, and focusing on seeking out joy, helped as well.
Lartigue’s color photographs from the 50s through the 70s showcase country life in France and Italy, with a dose of jetset, and frequently feature his wife and muse, Florette. I love this one, below:
The book has a nice selection of Lartigue’s color photos, and just enough commentary to provide a context to understand the photographs. I’m dying to know more, and have my eye on this fascinating profile of Lartigue, as well as this gem devoted to the Riviera.