Parisian Streets in the 1940s to 1950s Photographed by Robert Doisneau


Whenever street photography and its roots are being mentioned, Henri Cartier-Bresson almost always comes to mind first. However, French photographer Robert Doisneau was also a notable street photographer who co-pioneered photojournalism alongside Cartier-Bresson. Read on and take a look at his mesmerizing photographs of Parisian streets in the 1940s to 1950s after the jump!

“The marvels of daily life are so exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.” – Robert Doisneau

I believe that much of the challenge in street photography lies not in the technical aspects, but in encapsulating the essence of a city and its corners in every shot. I think of outstanding street snaps as time capsules—moments frozen in time, telling some bits and pieces about life back in those days that you can’t possibly find in history books.

Looking at the photos taken by French street photographer Robert Doisneau in Paris during the 1940s to 1950s, one cannot help but be amazed at how each photo is masterfully composed. Each one has a story to tell—like how busy marketplaces in the French capital used to be, how workers and artists went about their business, and what it was like during the outbreak of World War II. He even managed to snap picture-perfect scenes of couples kissing, like his best known photograph for LIFE, Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville), the last photo in the selection below. The world eventually came to recognize it as a symbol of young love in Paris.

See more of his photos of Paris during 1940s-1950s in this Retronaut capsule via Retronaut.

All information for this article were sourced from Retronaut and Robert Doisneau on Wikipedia.

written by plasticpopsicle on 2012-10-26 in #lifestyle #film-photography #lomography #french-photographer #paris #robert-doisneau #street-photography #1940s #1950s #france


  1. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    A master of street photography!!

  2. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    Very inspirational

  3. sirio174
    sirio174 ·

    a great master. My preferred street shooter with Robert Franck!

  4. analogdisplay
    analogdisplay ·

    Doisneau was a genius, though the "Baiser de l'Hotel de Ville" was a planned shot and not street photo at all!

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