Robert Doisneau

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Robert Doisneau was an early pioneer of photojournalism and street photography. During his long career, his poetic approach to the genre recorded French everyday life in a playful manner. He photographed a vast span of people and events, applying his exquisite sense of humour, anti-establishment values, and, above all, his deeply felt humanism. Always charmed by his subjects, he enjoyed finding amusing juxtapositions or oddities of human nature.

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Artist Biography

Doisneau was hired by the Rapho photographic agency—which also represented André Kertész and Edouard Boubat—where he developed his keen eye for shooting on the streets, often catching his subjects unaware. After World War II, Doisneau freelanced for magazines such as Vogue and LIFE, where for its June 1950 love-themed issue, Doisneau shot his most famous photograph: Le Baiser de l’Hôtel de Ville (1950), also known as The Kiss, an iconic shot of a young couple kissing passionately and unselfconsciously amongst the Parisian crowds. Later in his career, Doisneau went on to photograph artistic celebrities such as Alberto Giacometti, Jean Cocteau, and Pablo Picasso. His first book of photographs, La Banlieue de Paris (“The Suburbs of Paris,”) 1949; was followed by over twenty publications of his photographs, often of Paris and Parisians. 

Doisneau has been the subject of major retrospectives at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, the Art Institute of Chicago, George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, and the Witkin Gallery in New York. He was awarded the Grand Prix National de la Photographie in 1983 and appointed a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1984 for his contributions to French art and culture. Three years after his death, a photo gallery in his name was opened in Gentilly, France.

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