Today, Google celebrates Robert Doisneau’s centennial birthday, featuring some of his photos in Google Doodle. Amongst which is Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville (“The kiss by the city hall”), one of his most recognised images.

Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville

When I was at the Doisneau exhibition at Hôtel de Ville in Paris, I came across a mesmerising photo – Le muguet du métro (“The Lily of the Valley of the metro”) in the gift/book shop. Turns out that this, like Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville, was staged. This didn’t make the photo any less romantic though. I especially like the juxtaposition of her dark hair with a blunt fringe against her pale complexion and delicate aura. The pretty bokeh adds to the alluring mood too.

Le muguet du métro

Back home, while Googling about Doisneau, I found another photo that I really like too: Le regard oblique (“The opaque look/glance”). Love the humour!

Le regard oblique

Interestingly, this wasn’t a staged photo. Rather, it was the result of intent and patience. Doisneau had set and hidden his camera from view within the window of an art shop in Paris’ fifth arrondissement, capturing the reactions of passers-by to a risqué photo of a nude window.

One of Paris’ pioneering street photographers, Doisneau captured the humour, irony, and joy of la vie quotidienne. Very inspiring!

Les merveilles de la vie quotidienne sont tellement excitantes; aucun metteur en scène ne peut organiser l’inattendu que tu trouves dans les rues.

– Robert Doisneau

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

NOTE: Obviously, I didn’t take any of these black and white images!

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