Robert Doisneau, a street photographer, was born on 14 April 1912 in Gentilly, a suburb of Paris.
Robert Doisneau is one of France’s best known photographers, for his street photography and the many playful images in everyday French life. His photographs over the course of several decades provide people with a great record of French life. He has published over twenty books with realistic and charming pictures of personal moments in the lives of individuals.
Robert Doisneau was known for his modest, playful, and ironic images of amusing juxtapositions, mingling social classes, and eccentrics in contemporary Paris streets and cafes. Influenced by the work of André Kertész, Eugène Atget, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, in over twenty books Doisneau presented a charming vision of human frailty and life as a series of quiet, incongruous moments.
“The marvels of daily life are so exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.” Robert Doisneau.”
Doisneau’s early life:
Doisneau’s father, a plumber, died on active service in World War I when Robert was about four. His mother died when he was seven so he was then raised by an unloving aunt.
At thirteen he enrolled at the École Estienne, a craft school where he graduated in 1929 with diplomas in engraving and lithography. Here he had his first contact with the arts, taking classes in Figure drawing and Still life.
When he was 16 he took up amateur photography but was reportedly so shy that he started by photographing cobble-stones before progressing to children and then adults.
At the end of the 1920s Doisneau found work as a draughtsman (lettering artist) in the advertising industry at Atelier Ullmann (Ullmann Studio), a creative graphics studio that specialised in the pharmaceutical industry. Here he took an opportunity to change career by also acting as camera assistant in the studio and then becoming a staff photographer.
Doisneau services for france:
Doisneau worked at Rapho until the outbreak of World War II, whereupon he was drafted into the French army as both a soldier and photographer. He was in the army until 1940 and from then until the end of the war in 1945 used his draughtsmanship, lettering artistry and engraving skills to forge passports and identification papers for the French Resistance.
Robert Doisneau was appointed a Chevalier of the Order of the Légion d’honneur in 1984.
He won several awards throughout his life, including:
The Balzac Prize in 1986 (Honoré de Balzac)
The Grand Prix National de la Photographie in 1983
The Niépce Prize in 1956 (Nicéphore Niépce)
The Kodak Prize in 1947
A short film, “Le Paris de Robert Doisneau”, was made in 1973.
The great photographer after rendering his valuable contributions in the field of photography died on April, 1, 1994 at the age of 81 in Montrouge, an area of Paris.
Google Doodle on his 100th birthday: