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Happy 100th Birthday Robert Doisneau

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

Today would be Robert Doisneau’s 100th birthday. He died in 1994, but his street photographs will live forever. His most famous image, is Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Hotel de Ville). It captures the social essence of Paris in 1950.

Robert Doisneau, Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville (Kiss by theHotel de Ville) 1950

Doisneau was a master of showing the humor, irony, and contradictions of contemporary Paris life. Before he began his photographic career, he studied art at the Ecole Estienne, receiving diplomas in engraving and lithography. When he was drafted into the armed services in World War II, he used these skills to forge passports and identification papers for the French Resistance.

Doisneau was a modest man, always preferring the simple life and common subjects of street photography. He worked at Vogue magazine, any photographer’s dream, but did not like photographing beautiful women in elaborate backgrounds. It was too pretentious for his sensibilities. Every chance he got, he returned to the streets. His integrity paid off in 1984 when he was appointed a Chevalier (Knight) of the Order of the Légion d’honneur.

Robert Doisneau Portrait

One of my favorite photography books is Robert Doisneau Paris, published by Flammarion. It is a coffee table size hardback book filled with 393 pages of Doisneau’s most impressive work. I highly recommend buying a copy.


About Gina Genis

Hi Friends, I'm a photographer and artist who lives in Washington DC. I have two blogs. The Gina Genis Blog is about art and photography. My new blog, DC Discoveries is dedicated to showing you everything from fashion to art, food to entertainment in all sections of the District. I hope you will take the journey with me. I exhibit my work in museums and galleries across the U.S. I'm included in the permanent collections of the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, the Otto G. Richter Library Special Collections Division of the University of Miami, Hard Rock Casino, Orange County Transit District, IBM, and the Sarah and Adam Markman Collection among others. My series "Window Peeping" was included in OsCene 2010 at the Laguna Art Museum, Truman State University, Fellows of Contemporary Art, Biola University, and solo shows at Gallery 825 and Cypress College. The "June Gloom" series was exhibited in a solo show at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The "Kala" series has been exhibited at MPLS Photo Center, Cypress College, and Gallery 825. "Economy Portraits" was created as an Artist In Residence project at the Huntington Beach Art Center, and was awarded "Best Art Show of 2011" by the OC Weekly. I curated Wide Angle View, an exhibit of 16 international, award-winning photo and multi-media journalists at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art to much critical acclaim. Recent reviews of my work have appeared in the Huffington Post, Art Scene, OC Weekly, Orange County Register, New University, Riviera Magazine, Coast Magazine, Huntington Beach Independent, and appeared on CNN, NBC, ABC, and more. I lead the Gina Genis Photo Workshops where I show beginning and intermediate photographers how to jump to the next level with their work. I also teach online photography courses through The Compelling Image.

One response »

  1. well said, gina.

    anybody wielding a camera in the streets of any city in the world today owes a lot to this great genius of our time. i know i certainly do 🙂


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