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Robert Doisneau


In April 1994, aged 81, Robert Doisneau left behind a photographic heritage of 450,000 negatives immortalizing life on the Parisian streets.

The marvels of daily life are so exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street”.

Despite graduating in engraving and lithography, it was in 1934, aged 22 when Doisneau began his career as a photographer working in the advertising department at a Renault car factory. Whilst always speaking very positively about this experience, Doisneau was actually fired after 5 years for repeatedly arriving late. Further on, he was contrated by the Rapho Photographic Agency, Vogue. He joined the Group XV (an association for photographers) and he frequently worked with various poets and writers.

Becoming a photographic legend

At first Doisneau stayed away from the subject of photo creating what he deemed to be a safe, respectable distance. Then, slowly, he dared to move closer and carry out his work intimately. This shy and modest artisan was to become a pioneer in the craft of photojournalism. Over the years, he would build up courage and expertise and would eventually be compared to the great, Henri Cartier Bresson. Just as his contemporary, during World War 2, Doisneau enrolled in the French army as a photographer.

Always having high morals as the top of his criteria when choosing his shots, he stayed away from money and the glamour of success wanting always to be considered an “artisan photographer”.

“Maybe if I were 20, success would change me. But now I'm a dinosaur of photography”.

His most famous work “Le baiser del'hôtel de ville” (Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville)shows what Paris is meant to be: the city of romance. Despite appearances, this photo led it´s creator through an unpleasant court case which despite winning, created a somber effect on the last few years of Doisneau´s life. The couple in the photo are Françoise Delbart, and Jacques Carteaud who were at the time aspiring actors.

Article written by Michelle de la Rosa Lewis (Student at Studio M Academy)