A couple walking along the Seine River in Paris by Toni Frissell
10"x8" ($24) | 14"x11" ($60) | 20"x16" ($240) | 30"x24" ($800)
Love is in the air. And it’s like 15 degrees outside our NYC office right now, so love is really showing some resolve. Maybe it’s the cello-wrapped roses that start cropping up at our corner stores this time of year or the velvety boxes of bonbons that’ll soon appear at the checkout line or the fact that we could all use a little more love in the world right now, but here we are, feeling unusually excited for the quintessential Hallmark holiday—Valentine’s Day.
Artfully upping the ante when it comes to Valentine’s vibes: the new Vintage Edition we're unveiling today. Captured by American photographer Toni Frissell circa 1954, A couple walking along the Seine River in Paris epitomizes classic romance, posing as the ideal piece to shower your S.O. (or yourself!) with a little love. But it’d also make a great gift for an art lover or black & white photography fan in your life. A Galentine’s prezzie, perchance? A print like this is the perfect compliment to any art collection. Besides, it’s so beautiful, enchanting, and brilliantly composed it fully justifies our warm and fuzzies.
Antoinette “Toni” Frissell Bacon was born New York City in 1907, kicking off her photography career in the early 1930s. Mostly self-taught, she honed her skills behind the camera as a fashion photographer for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, branching out into photojournalism for the American Red Cross and later, during World War II, the Women’s Army Corps. This unique breadth of experience lead her to some unorthodox decisions behind the lens, namely, moving models from the studio to the streets. In the context of her contemporaries, Frissell’s work felt fresh, her style spontaneous, producing palpably active plein air images in a fashion world accustomed to large format cameras fixed on totally still subjects. Her “action fashion” photographs would be a game changer in the industry.
We’re not sure if the subjects in A couple walking along the Seine River in Paris were actually models, posed under Frissell’s exacting eye, or if they were indeed a pair of real-life Parisian lovers huddled together on a foggy stroll. What we do know is that this photograph exemplifies much of the peculiar magic of Frissell’s approach to image-making—she was a master of semblant spontaneity, of imbuing her images with a sense of romanticized realism (even when they were precisely planned). She achieved this in part through her use of unconventional perspectives, like the exaggerated angle and high point of view from which A couple walking along the Seine River in Paris was shot.
This edition feels candid and serendipitous, but it’s undeniably dreamy as well, like a still from a cinematic love story. Can’t you hear the wistful swelling music or pick up on a little je ne sais quoi emanating from this Seine-side scene? Just imagine it romancing you on your walls. Now add owning an museum-quality print of an image by a groundbreaking female photographer to the mix, and you’ll certainly want to go steady.
With art for everyone,
Jen Bekman + Team 20x200