Le baiser de l'Hôtel de Ville, 1950
Creatures de Reve 1952


(1912 - 1994)

Robert Doisneau was a French photographer noted for his poetic approach to street photography. His photographs highlight the timeless romance of Paris and the brimming exuberance that flourished in the French capitol in the wake of its liberation in 1944.

Doisneau was known for photographing a vast array of people and events, often juxtaposing conformist and maverick elements in images marked by an exquisite sense of humor, by anti-establishment values, and, above all, by his deeply felt humanism.  Doisneau was part of the French Humanist movement in photography with his images exploring the subtle joys of human interaction.  He once wrote, “the marvels of daily life are exciting.  No movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in a city street.”

At the age of twenty, Doisneau sold his first photo-story in 1932.  He began photographing, just as modernist ideas were beginning to promote photography as the prime medium for advertising and reportage.  He began to sell work to picture magazines, which were expanding their use of photographs as illustration.  Prior to the war he worked as an industrial photographer for Renault Motor Company and then for the illustrious Rapho photo agency.  After the war he worked for various magazines from LIFE to Paris Vogue.  In the 1950s, Doisneau also became active in Group XV, an organization of photographers devoted to improving both the artistry and technical aspects of photography. He won many awards from the Prix Kodak in 1947 and the Prix Niepce in 1956.  Whether it be children playing in the streets of the or his famous image of a couple in Le baiser de l’Hotel de ville he exalted in documenting the joys of human existence.