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Robert Doisneau: A Photographer's Life Hardcover – October 20, 1995

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Editorial Reviews Review

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. 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 Doisneau's effort toward immortality, "the refusal to entirely disappear." Waiting for just the right moment, he recorded thousands of ordinary people doing ordinary and extraordinary things in the course of their day-to-day lives. Doisneau explained his motivations: "And it's better, isn't it, to shed some light on those people who are never in the limelight?" Hamilton (Doisneau: Retrospecive, St. Martin's Pr., 1993) traces modernist influences on Doisneau, notably the illustrated magazines, like Vu, Regards, and Match, that popularized "humanist" photography, and includes a chapter on technique. This important book, with its excellent reproductions, should be added to all photography collections.?Kathleen Collins, New York Transit Museum Archives, Brooklyn
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press; 1st edition (October 20, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789200201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789200204
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 9.5 x 13 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,512,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Miss Laura Nelle on January 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is a marvelously comprehensive collection of Doisneau's work. The photographs are beautifully reproduced, and reflect the character of a city and its people with humor, pathos, and great dignity. The text is clear, concise, and extremely insightful, with some extraordinary quotes and commentary from not only Doisneau himself, but other gifted artists of his time. A book to treasure!
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By on January 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Delightful photographs in fine reproduction with interesting and readable insight into the man behind the camera.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joy on July 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Here is a love-letter of a book to it's talented subject. This amazing photographer and his works come to life in the form of his photos of "everyday" people and the biography or text that shares this tribute. I was transported back to France and the people and could immediately feel the sensitivity with which Doisneau crafted his pictures. There is a sense of history and drama as this esteemed artist captures real life through his lens.
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2 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 15, 1998
Format: Hardcover
It was really boring and I didn't like how the author rambled on and on about nothing important at all. It was the most awful book I have ever read.
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