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Robert Doisneau: A Photographer's Life 
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Product Details 
368 pages 
Abbeville Press, Inc. 
Published 1995 
Robert Doisneau: A Photographer's Life covers the renowned work of the French photographer famous for the 1950 picture Le Baiser de le Hotel de Ville ("Kiss at the Hotel"). This frequently reproduced portrait of an attractive couple frozen in an embrace while Parisian city life whirls around them is an archetypal emblem of romance. It's pretty surprising to learn that Doisneau hired young actors for his entire kissing series; nevertheless, the moment rings undeniably true. Maybe it's his beginnings in advertising or his fashion work for Vogue that lend his images equal parts of real life and theater.  
Doisneau (1912-1994) spent his lifetime recording life in France. With his combination of photojournalism and art, he captured nightclubs, the Parisian working-class suburbs, national monuments, weddings, and famous folk like Picasso. Some of the most riveting pictures are of resistance fighters in the midst of the Occupation--young men in civilian clothes, sportcoats and all, standing with guns behind homemade barricades. Accompanying the hundreds of pictures are in-depth chapters that discuss the different periods in Doisneau's life and work. From his childhood, through the war, and on to his fascination with the banlieues (suburbs), the well-researched text gives invaluable insight into this influential photographer's practice. --J.P.Cohen  
From Library Journal 
In this first authorized biography of the French photographer Robert Doisneau (1912-94), many of his photographs are reproduced for the first time. Doisneau didn't like to travel; he found his images mostly in his own "backyard," the banlieu that defines the nearby outskirts and suburbs of Paris, especially Montrouge, where he lived with his wife of over 60 years (she died six months before him) until his death in April 1994. His two children assisted the author with this work. Photography was... read more  
Book Description 
The first authorized biography available, Robert Doisneau provides an intimate and rich account of the life of the French photographer who captured the streets and elusive spaces of Paris as the city entered the modern era. Perhaps best known as the creator of romantic images of Paris-particularly The Kiss (Le Baiser de l'Hôtel de Ville)-Doisneau is, in fact, a key figure in the history of documentary photography. His passion was to notice and record the ordinary life around him, presented by chance, "like a bouquet." He photographed everything from local weddings to heads of states, from a homeless drunk asleep over a subway grate to a masked ball in a Venetian palace, recording the marginal and transitory zones recognized by Charles Baudelaire and later by Walter Benjamin as the symbolic, shifting landscapes of modern life.  
Drawing not only upon Doisneau's previously unpublished archives but also on conversations with the photographer in his final years, this book examines every aspect of Doisneau's work, including the techniques he used. Emphasized are his periods of engagement with the birth of photojournalism in the 1930s; with humanist social realism in the 1940s and 1950s; and with montage and art brut in the 1960s. The photographs, made by Doisneau on his own and while working for Vogue, Life, and other well-known magazines, reveal how the familiar is swept away, a theme germane to city-dwellers everywhere.  
Peter Hamilton portrays Doisneau's "telescopic" life as a series of vignettes, fortuitous encounters, and friendships with a cast of larger-than-life characters, including Blaise Cendrars, Fernand LTger, Jacques PrTvert, and Robert Giraud. Doisneau grew up at the edge of the Parisian banlieue, a zone between town and country to which he continually returned in order to capture the life of a place where, as he said, "you went either to play, to make love, or to commit suicide." He came of age along with his profession, and Hamilton not only details this social history but in a personal and resonant style includes Doisneau's own voice, chronicling his developing perception of his life's work as a collection of i

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