Robert Doisneau was one of the best photographers of his time and these black and white pictures still amaze the public. He had his own way of working and composed his frames in the manner of a filmmaker constructing his shots. No detail was left ignored. Paris was one of his favourite themes and almost everyone can recognise these unforgettable black and white photographs.
The first breakthroughs
Robert Doisneau was born in 1922 in Gentilly, near Paris, into a middle-class family. At the age of fifteen, he learned engraving and lithography at the Estienne school in Paris and began designing labels. He became a camera assistant at André Vigneau’s studio in 1931, where he discovered artistic outlets that would fascinate him. He worked in advertising (at Renault), and was fired for being repeatedly late. He accepted an attractive job as a freelance photographer. But the Second World War broke out and put an end to his projects. Later, in the post-war euphoria of Paris and despite the fact that he had to earn a living, Robert Doisneau collected photographs that were to be very successful, stubbornly surveying places where one would think there was nothing to see, in search of furtive moments and chasing spots lit by the sun’s rays.
An incomparable photography aesthetic!
Robert Doisneau had and still has his say among the great names of French photography. One can spend hours contemplating his powerful and aesthetic black and white photographs. A photographer of genius, he wandered the streets of the French capital and could spend hours immortalizing a unique poetic moment where joy, humour, carelessness, passion, but also sometimes the harshness of life, sadness and melancholy were mixed. He practiced photography in a state of mind close to that of a writer, which is not surprising since his best friends were called Prévert, Robert Giraud or Cendras.
For many people, Robert Doisneau is a sort of everyday life poet and his black and white photographs reflect a deep passion for the streets of Paris and the souls that inhabit them. They were also seen as memories of the aftermath of the war years in Paris. Robert Doisneau is also a witness to history, that of the early 1930s to the end of the 20ᵉ century, one particularly rich in emotions and memories.