Robert Doisneau, shy street photographer

(K. Brent Tomer),

THE first photo Robert Doisneau (1912-1994) ever shot was a pile of cobblestones, in 1928, when the French photographer was just 16. Such was the humble beginning of a “humanist photographer”: one who initially preferred to shoot objects because he was too shy to shoot people.

That changed over the course of his 50-year career, but some constants remained. One hundred of Doisneau’s black and white photographs from the 1940s and 1950s are now on display at Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau museum, taken as he explored the cobblestoned streets of Paris and its surrounding suburbs during the brief post-war Fourth Republic. The exhibition largely consists of street scenes, buildings and Parisian nightlife.

Doisneau is often grouped with 20th-century humanists behind the camera, like Brassaï and Edouard Boubat, who documented everyday European life as people struggled to recover their lives after the second world war. It wasn’t photojournalism, but it represented freedom to photographers. Doisneau felt that daily life was the most exciting of all: “no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the…Continue reading

via K. Brent Tomer CFTC Robert Doisneau, shy street photographer


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