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From Publishers Weekly
Photographer Doisneau (1912–1994) had a tremendous gift not only for portraying the beauty of Paris but for capturing the charm of its citizens; some of his images have come to define Paris, even for those who've never visited. Most of the 600 photos in this classic collection feature at least one person, and the expressions on their faces are so real they feel staged. One, of a young woman finishing a roller-coaster ride, catches her with a look of "mon dieu, I thought I'd die!" The way Doisneau composes his images, focusing on a subject's "aura" ("that kind of neon light," he says, glowing around certain people) is striking. He possesses a satirical eye for humor (e.g., the shots of various sculptures doused in pigeon droppings) and the bizarre (a Monsieur Beauvoir sitting at a bar with a large bird perched on his shoulder). The chapters are broadly thematic (the one on war and politics is particularly powerful); within chapters, there are themes: e.g., butchers, the Métro, visitors observing the Mona Lisa. Doisneau's commentary appears throughout, as his photographs—whether from the 1940s or the 1990s—illustrate a society that is alternately refined, puzzling and, above all, human. (Nov.)
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As a photographer, Robert Doisneau is known for his ability to infuse images of daily life with poetic nuance that imbued his photojournalism with an enduring popular appeal. The unprecedented scope of this collection provides the opportunity to study his more composed, aesthetically structured images alongside his snapshots, which offer a more anecdotal account of Doisneau's Paris. Organized thematically, the book leads us on an entrancing tour through the gardens of Paris, along the Seine, and through the crowds of Parisians who define their beloved city. More than 600 photographs-many rare, forgotten, and previously unpublished-are assembled in this beautiful volume to create a unique portrait of Paris. From toddlers scrambling to cross rue de Rivoli to fresh-faced accordionists, from elegant dog walkers to exuberant roller skaters, and from the indelible kiss in front of the Hétel de Ville to cyclists beneath the Eiffel Tower, the magic of Paris in black and white is a timeless treasure. The photographs, edited by Doisneau's daughter, are complemented by citations from the photographer himself, which reveal his profound fascination with the city where he lived and worked.
About the Author
Robert Doisneau (1912-1994) is one of the world's most famous and popular photographers. His poetic, touching, and at times nostalgic images of France have become iconic. He did a stint at Vogue, but his real interest lay in capturing on film ordinary people in everyday situations. He received many prizes during his life; since his death in 1994 there have been major retrospectives of his work in Paris, Chicago (The Art Institute), and New York (the Witkin Gallery). Francine Derondille is Doisneau's daughter.