***FLASH SALE ENDS WEDNESDAY AT 11:59PM*** This Wednesday I will conclude the first flash sale of one of my pictures, “Basque girls running home, France, 1967.” It has been quite successful. My reasoning behind offering a flash sale is that I can make one of my iconic images available to those who may not be photography collectors but would like to own a signed print at a very reasonable cost. By pricing my flash sale print at $100.00 I can put that image in reach of most people. My flash sale print is a 6” x 9” archival inkjet print on 9” x 11” archival watercolor paper. The success of this first flash sale has convinced me that I should do this semi-annually and will plan to offer another image this coming spring. As with this sale, the spring flash sale will be two-weeks in duration. I am not yet sure what the next image will be. I have a 50 year archive to choose from. It won’t really be easy to make the pick. For now, “Basque girls running home” is still available until the end of Wednesday, November 15. My heartfelt thanks to those of you who are now, or about to become owners of this print. I hope it brings you a lifetime of pleasure.
William Albert Allard
**CLICK LINK IN PROFILE TO PURCHASE A SIGNED PRINT*** “Basque girls running home,” my picture of two small girls scampering home to the call of their mother in a tiny French village, is 50 years old this fall. To commemorate my 80th birthday and honor the anniversary of this picture, it is now available as a flash sale print for $100.00 for two weeks only starting November 1 through November 15, 2017. Made in the French Pyrenees mountains in 1967, it is a photograph that has stood the test of time and has been published in many magazines, books and photographic anthologies. This print is in private and museum collections and in large sizes sells for $3,000-$10,000. This flash sale print is a 6” x 9” image on a 9” x 11” paper. It is an archival ink jet print on archival watercolor paper. It is signed in graphite pencil on the front border and on the back. It is a perfect gift for a young aspiring photographer or for anyone who loves photography. At a price of only $100.00 it is a bargain not to pass up. All prints are shipped via USPS priority mail.
In the fall of 1967 I was up on the mountainside of the French Basque Country photographing a farmer and his wife working with a pair of mules, cutting, raking and stacking hay. The woman has a lean and strong looking body, tanned by much exposure to the elements. She worked every bit as hard as her husband to make a go of their rural life with all of their work in those years still done with animals, not tractors. The face of the mule in the foreground kind of draws us in to the center of the picture dominated by the farmer, another mule, and his wife. I’ve always regretted making the bottom of the frame so abrupt. I should have allowed more space at the bottom. My photo essay was called “In the Land of the Ancient Basques,” in the August, 1968 issue.
In 1990 I had the pleasure of spending most of my summer going to ball games for a National Geographic magazine article about minor league baseball. I traveled with my cameras to cities and @vtowns around the country in pursuit of the game and the places where it was played. I concentrated on the lower levels of the minors, where the teams are made up of many young men who will not reach the major leagues but will always be able to say that they played professional baseball. From Arizona to California to Utah and Montana, with stops in Texas, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Tennessee, North Carolina, and West Virginia, this was a summer I treasured. It brought me back to days long past, in the 1940’s and ‘50s, when baseball seemed a part of every boy’s life, when the sport needed no apologies, and its heroes stayed heroes. When baseball was truly the great American game and a part of our consciousness.
This was made at a small festival in the mountainous Basque town of Sare, in 1967 while I was documenting the French and Spanish Basque country for National Geographic magazine. The picture was made at dusk, the time the French call “the time between dogs and wolves,” when it’s no longer really daylight and not yet truly dark. Several of the dancers are slightly blurred from their movement. The film I was using was not very fast but the slight movement adds to the feeling of the ambience. The fading light, the warmth of the colored light bulbs strung above, framing the scene. A solitary girl stands watching the dancers. It reminds me of some Impressionist paintings where dancers are shown in great intimacy. Not to say this is like a painting. No, it’s a photograph but one that might carry the feeling of the ambience as I remember it. My hope in making a picture is often that the viewer will feel what I felt when I was there.
In 1990 I had the pleasure of being asked by National Geographic magazine to do an essay on minor league baseball. I worked in various parts of the country, photographing mostly what I consider the “edges” of the game, not the action. This simple image of a member of the Stockton Ports team based in Stockton, California, raising his bat above his head, stretching his muscular and suntanned arms before taking his place at the plate, is a kind of universal image at least in the wonderful world of baseball, a game I grew up with in the 1950s when it truly was the great American pastime.
During my stay in Sicily in 1994, I found myself traveling along the southwestern coast with my assistant driving. I noticed a large flock of sheep moving across through an open field and the landscape had layers of light and then I saw the wild roses. I think they were roses. I asked Massimo to stop the car. I jumped out, grabbed a shoe mount strobe and jammed it onto my camera and quickly estimated an exposure that would light the flowers but not spread light over a wide area, just really on the warmth of the blossoms. This was with film, no back of the camera monitor to show me the result. I guess it comes with practice and back in those years I did a fair amount of mixing daylight and strobe. I got this one right.
I met Laure Lochet on the streets of Paris in 2013. She was on her way to the Josephine Baker swimming pool that is moored on the Seine during the summer months. Laure did some acting and had majored in communication arts in school.
She spoke perfect English and my assistant, Catalina Martin-Chico and I invited Laure to tea to discuss the possibility of me having a portrait session with her. We did the photographs in my room at the Hotel Les Rives de Notre Dame at 15 Quai Saint-Michele, overlooking the Seine and just a few hundred yards from the Cathederal Notre Dame. In the early 1900s my visual hero, Henri Matisse, had his studio just four doors down, at 19 Quai Saint-Michele. One of his famous paintings was done in that studio, with a nude reclining on a settee against the wall with a view of the Seine and the Pont Saint-Michele seen through a partly opened window. I made this image as a kind of homage to Matisse.
While driving through the Spanish Pyrenees I saw several workman standing in a doorway shielded from the rain. I made this simple portrait without any exchange of words with the man. It’s very direct, very basic. We simple looked at each other. The curve of his coat collar on his left I believe is a significant element to the image. If you follow the line of the collar as it travels up the side of his face it continues around the top of his beret, kind of encompassing his face.
On the Pont des Arts an accordion player works the passersby as he stands in front of the thousands of “love locks” that strained the very existent of this structure in 2013. Far too heavy for the bridge to sustain, the locks were removed on June 1 of 2015.
An estimated one million padlocks were taken down from the famed bridge crossing the Seine and connecting the Louvre and Institut de France. Solid panels were put up to prevent attempts to continue hanging locks. As unattractive as are the panels, I never liked the locks because they veiled the loveliness of the pedestrian bridge with its lovers and street performers such as this accordion player who has graced the bridges of Paris for decades. In this image his face and gesture take center stage. I would be pleased to know if some viewer of this book might find a lock of their placing somewhere in the chorus line background. My father played an accordion and maybe why this picture brings memory to mind.
At a gallery opening in 2013 when I was doing an essay for National Geographic on the Le Marais neighborhood in Paris, I attended an art gallery opening. A painter from a mid east country had an exhibit which was strongly inhabited by faces with staring eyes. I don’t remember why I chose to tilt the camera at the moment of exposure but it was probably in haste in order not to miss the little girl’s stance, one foot firmly planted, the other kind of wavering, her arms outstretched in an echo of her legs and feet. We really don’t need to see the child’s face; it’s very much implied that her eyes are locked on those in the paintings. And the angularity of the image is tight with tension.
In 1986, while doing my essay on The Sidewalks of Paris for National Geographic’s Traveler magazine, I went with my assistant, Sophie Elbaz, to the huge Port de Clignancourt Les Puces flea market. Sophie, a very personable young woman and also a photographer, became fond of a hat with a veil and modeled it briefly for me before purchasing it. I am just slightly out of focus but it works in my favor. One is drawn to Sophie’s right eye which is kind of the “handle” for this image. Every picture needs a handle, a place one’s eyes can go to for reference, a place to start. The warm light and soft screening of the veil provides an intimacy between the subject and the viewer. This isn imperfect picture that finds success in the end.
She passed me by in a moment in Le Marais. Look at her: a belted trench coat, tight jeans with knee-high, high heeled boots. Her long hair flies out beneath a kind of aviator-like cap or perhaps it’s a scarf. She wears amber glasses and her gloved hands grip the handlebars from which hangs an orange shopping bag that adds a warm accent to an overall subdued palette. A wonderful moment on the streets of Paris I so love.
I’m sitting at the end of the bar in my favorite wine bar, La Belle Hortense, in Le Marais. There is a mirror mounted at a slant near the ceiling and in it I can make a self portrait which includes a bit of the scene outside on Rue Vielle-du-Temple in 2014.
With a slow shutter a passing bicycle is just hinted at in a gray blur.
When ever I’m in Paris I try to visit the Musee d’Orsay to see the current exhibit and very possibly take a stroll through the rooms with the incredible collections of the Impressionists. Many of these paintings moved me as a young man looking at reproductions but to see them in actuality brings them alive.
Photographers can learn so much from painters about the geometry of composition, the shaping of light and shadow. In this strongly graphic picture I’m looking out through one of the two huge museum clocks that face the Seine and the Louvre and through the glass at the lower curve of the clock’s face I can see a cluster of young people sitting on the quai, gazing out at the river. How many people, I wonder, have sat there over the years as that river flowed by and the clocks counted the hours?
My first chance to photograph Paris came in 1986. I had begun to work again in 1985 for National Geographic after about three and a half years of being unable to get an assignment.
I suggested to David Bridge, then a picture editor for National Geographic’s Traveler magazine, that I’d like to photograph an essay based on wandering about the sidewalks of Paris. Not exactly an original idea, but Traveler bought it and I was given a relatively short assignment, maybe a couple of weeks, that I stretched into four by living in a cheap hotel.
I thought then, and still do, that walking round Paris is like walking through a series of one-act plays. One passes by a couple in deep argument or passionate embrace; a poodle sprawls at the feet of its master, who is engrossed with his newspaper and coffee; a blue-clad city worker takes his break and smokes a Gauloises, and the acrid smell catches you like a fist. On Boulevard St.-Germain brilliant sunshine appears on the heels of a heavy downpour, and a striding man lifts dark glasses to his face to confront blinding sunlight that hadn’t existed moments before.
The picture of a young woman blowing smoke over her shoulder in a Paris restaurant is a visual gift I received one evening in 2002. Au Gamin de Paris, a favorite restaurant of mine in the Marias neighborhood, was just around the corner and down the street from my hotel on Rue Ste. Croix de la Bretonnerie. I was dining alone, as I often do, reading a book, with a Leica sitting on the table in front of me. I never dine alone without a book and a camera. If I'm alone I probably won't have a book on the table (although there will likely be one in my bag), but I always have a camera within reach. For some reason I was evidently watching her and her young friends. It's been a few years now, I don't remember it well; maybe she had made that motion of turning to exhale her cigarette smoke a time or two before, and I was watching a waiting. Could be. Looking for pictures is always a little bit like hunting: watching and waiting. When she turned this time, her eyes and mine met just as I raised the camera. Usually in a candid photograph you hope not to have anyone looking at the camera. But in this case the momentary contact her eyes had with mine is the essence of the image. It gives the viewer personal contact with the girl in the picture and makes it somehow intimate and complete. @thephotosociety@natgeo@natgeocreative@leica_camera #paris#parís#france#parisrestaurant#leica#cigarette#smoke#pariseyeoftheflaneur#williamalbertallard#ruestreet
The base of the Eiffel Tower is ablaze in gold with the night sky an indigo blue. The blur of trees streak across the image. It appears to be a reflection in water but it is simply, but boldly, a single frame quickly composed and made from the window of my passing taxi on the way back to my hotel. From my new book, Paris: Eye of the Flaneur
For my friends and followers here and everywhere: Tomorrow Ani and I fly to Paris for the opening of my exhibit, "A Flaneur in Paris," a print exhibit drawn from my just published book "William Albert Allard PARIS: Eye of the Flaneur." Published by Edition Lammerhuber in Vienna, Austria, the book is a 31 year retrospective of my work in Paris. Central Dupon Lab has made beautiful ink jet prints that I am excited to see. Join us if you can.
I have often thought that Paris displays more interestingly attractive women than other cities I've seen. In June of 1988, while working on the Paris fashion assignment, I was having cafe creme at the Relais Odeon, the bistro on Boulevard Saint-Germain that for over a hundred years has sat next to the entrance of a centuries-old cobblestones street, the Cours du Commerce Saint-Andre.
Taken in 1988
Backstage at an Emanuel Ungaro fashion show in Paris. It’s all about models’ legs in some kind of shiny stockings that catch the light of my small camera shoe-mounted strobe that makes them glimmer. But the key to the image, of course, is the model bent over to adjust her stocking. This image makes up the end papers—the back of the front cover and the opposing page in my new book, Paris: Eye of the Flaneur due out this fall from Edition Lammerhuber in Vienna, Austria. @thephotosociety@natgeo@natgeocreative@emanuelungaro_officiel
Today is the last day to purchase a signed print of my image, Rainy Night in Paris during @natgeocreative Flash Sale. Click the link in my profile to see the full collection of prints available. Sale ends at midnight.
Photo by @williamalbertallard
In 2013 while doing an essay for National Geographic on central Paris, which was indeed, that night, the City of Light. The laps of water were crowned with brilliance and raindrops were scattered like diamonds on the roof of the dinner boat Le Calife.
As we slowly eased past the Eiffel Tower, a woman paused in her staircase descent to gaze up at the icon draped in gold. It's seldom one gets an opportunity to photograph something so often depicted and yet manage to create something of a different vision. I perhaps immodestly consider this a masterpiece from my work in a place I love.
Photo by @michaelnicknichols
Visit the link in my profile to purchase a signed print of these images and more. Part of @natgeocreative Flash Sale highlighting stunning images from world renowned photographers. Click the link in my profile to purchase a signed print for only $100.