A woman is sitting with closed eyes at a pavement café, with a young woman and a man standing on her right; their gaze is empty, staring. Three hanging globes and their reflections illuminate this nocturnal scene, which is printed in velvety shades of black. This is the opening photograph of Een liefdesgeschiedenis in Saint Germain des Prés (A Love Story in Saint Germain des Prés), the photo novel with which Ed van der Elsken achieved international renown in 1956. Ann and Manuel, the man and woman standing in this photograph, are the protagonists of this story about an ill-fated love affair. The context is the bohemian life of a group of young people in post-war Paris. They hang around, drinking and smoking hash in bars, dancing wildly to jazz music and living on the streets or in cheap hotels. The photographer was personally involved with the subjects. Manuel was actually Van der Elsken’s alter ego and the book was a tribute to artist and muse Vali Myers. She dominates this picture, taken from a low angle – and also many of the other photographs in Een liefdesgeschiedenis.
© Ed van der Elsken/Nederlands Fotomuseum/Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam


Translated title

[no title (Geraldine Krongold, Vali Myers and Roberto Inignez-Morelosy in front of Le Mabillon)], from: Love on the Left Bank



Production date



Click here to view 6 related documents


39.4 x 29.5cm.


gelatin silver print mounted on aluminium

Object number

FA 244