Robert Doisneau celebrated via Google Doodle

14 Apr 2012

Robert Doisneau photographed by Bracha L. Ettinger in his studio in Montrouge, Paris in 1992. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A couple embracing amidst the flurry of a busy Parisian street, the infamous photo captured by the French pioneer of photojournalism Robert Doisneau, makes up part of the Google Doodle photo collage today on what would be the centenary of the photographer’s birth.

Robert Doisneau was born on 14 April 1912.

It was during the 1930s that Doisneau took to the Parisian boulevards to take real-life, often zany, images of people and children interacting in their daily lives. Along with Henri Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau is credited with being a photojournalism pioneer.

In 1932 he sold his first photo story to Excelsior magazine.

During World War II, Doisneau was drafted into the French army as both a soldier and photographer. He was in the army until 1940. From then, and until the end of the war in 1945, he apparently used his draughtsmanship, lettering artistry and engraving skills to forge passports and identification papers for the French Resistance.

It was in 1948 that Vogue magazine contracted Doisneau to work as a fashion photographer.


Google Doodle Robert Doisneau 14 April 2012

Today’s Google Doodle to celebrate Robert Doisneau’s 100th birthday

His 1950 photo, ‘Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville’ (Kiss by the Town Hall), as featured as part of today’s Google Doodle, has become known across the world over the years for its sheer, raw depiction of young love.

The couple in the photo were two aspiring actors: Françoise Delbart and Jacques Carteaud.

Doisneau also worked with writers and poets such as Blaise Cendrars and Jacques Prever, while he produced children’s books, advertising photography and celebrity portraits including ones of Jean Cocteau and Pablo Picasso.

Doisneau’s work stands out for the way he was able to reflect different aspects of Parisian street life, from capturing children playing on the street, to showcasing different social classes as well as artistic types hanging around cafes.

As for his personal life, Doisneau married Pierrette Chaumaison in 1936 and they had two daughters.

He passed away on 1 April 1994, six months after his wife. Doisneau is buried in the cemetery at Raizeux in Paris beside his wife Pierrette.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic