Photography Articles

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Black & White Photographers (1): Robert Doisneau 1912-94, France

Sahar Seyedi

Tehran, Iran, 2007

Robert Doisneau was born in Gentilly in Val-de-Marne, France. He studied engraving at the Ecole Estienne in Chantilly, but he found his training antiquated and useless after graduation. He learned photography in the advertising department of a pharmaceutical firm.

1930: Began photographing details of objects in 1930
1932: Sold his photo-story to the Excelsior newspaper
1934: Camera assistant to the sculptor Andrei Vigneaux; finished military service; taking a job as an industrial & advertising photographer for Renault Factory at Billancourt

1939: Fired; freelance advertising and postcard photography to earn his living; worked in Rapho Photo Agency for some months; a soldier in World War II
1939-45: A member of the Resistance as a soldier and as a photographer, he used his engraving skills of forge passports and identification papers; he photographed occupation and liberation of Paris.

1946: After the war, he returned to freelance work for Life and other leading international magazines; joined Alliance Photo Agency for a short time; worked for Rapho since 1946
1947: Won the Kodak Prize

1948-51: Against his inclinations, he did high-society and fashion photography for Paris Vogue; in addition to his reportage, he took photographs of many French artists, including Braque, Cocteau, Giacometti, Leger and Picasso.

1956: Won Niepce Prize
1967: Consultant to Expo 67, Canada
1973: A short movie, “Le Paris de Robert Doisneau”, was made.

Robert Doisneau, a shy-unassuming man, who lived in Paris suburb of Montrouge, has been the subject of the major retrospectives at the National Library of Paris, Art Institute of Chicago, George Eastman House in Rochester (New York) and Witkin Gallery in New York City.
To visit some of the works of Robert Doisneau, please check the above mentioned website.

To see his photos and more information visit: