Florist in Saint-Lazare

31 / 50 by Gerardo Vielba, 1962

Turning the ordinary into something extraordinary is a prodigious feat. And for such an arduous task, one essential prerequisite is the way you look at things. Vielba had an intuitive, sensitive way of looking at things. He was capable of showing the world what seems invisible to the eyes of others.

In the spring of 1962, Vielba traveled to Paris —a symbol of European modernity— to document the École Nationale Supérieure de L’Aeronautique in the capital city. He took that opportunity to wander through its streets in search of any evocative scene that he could capture for eternity with his TLR Rollei camera. This portrait of a florist in Saint-Lazare is a perfect example of an exercise in empathy, of his need to find what moves him.

In 1954, he joined the Royal Photographic Society of Madrid, of which he was president from 1964 until he died in 1992.

The evolution of photography in Spain cannot be understood without the figure of Vielba. An author who rightly understood the potential of photography as a means of communication and also an independent form of artistic expression.

Vielba received the National Fine Arts Award in 1962, right after his trip to Paris. His work is ripe with emotion: there is serenity, tenderness, friendship, nostalgia, innocence and peace. It is a product of his deep respect for the art of photography.