New Delhi: Born on April 14, 1912 in Gentilly, Val-de-Marne, Paris, Robert Doisneau was one of France's best known photographers. He is best renowned for his 1950 image Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Town Hall), a photo of a couple kissing in the busy streets of Paris. Robert Doisneau was appointed a Chevalier (Knight) of the National Order of the Légion d'honneur in 1984.
His photographs, taken over the course of several decades, provide a great record of French life. Today, on its search home-page, Google celebrates the centenary of the popular French photographer with a Doodle that reflects all those aspects of the artist.
The Doodle is topped by the striking 1971 image “Three little white children, Parc Monceau (Trois petits enfants blancs, parc Monceau),” in which the trio of white-clad kids pass the Parisian monument to writer Guy de Maupassant. And Google — such a fan of Street Views — completes its thoughtful logo curation with 1977's sad-sweet “Dog on Wheels (Le chien a roulettes).”Doisneau, too, was a master of fractions, patiently waiting for that split-second that separated art from the visually commonplace. And yet along city streets, he delighted in finding black-and-white art within the commonplace. “I like people for their weaknesses and faults. I get on well with ordinary people,” said the much-honored artist, who in 1984 was appointed a Chevalier (Knight) of the Order of the Légion d'honneur.
The photograph, "The Kiss by the Town Hall" was first published in Life magazine in 1950 and Doisneau allowed people to think that it was not a staged photograph. One couple, believing they were featured kissing in the photograph, sued the photographer. In court, Doisneau revealed that it was another couple who he had seen kissing and then asked them to model for him. He then took them to a series of locations in Paris. The couple who wrongly believed they were in the photograph lost their claim.
All those split-seconds on Parisian streets added up to a pioneering career that spanned more than a half-century and rivaled that of countryman Henri Cartier-Bresson.
“A hundredth of a second here, a hundredth of a second there — even if you put them end to end, they still only add up to one, two, perhaps three seconds, snatched from eternity,” Doisneau notably said. Even one of his many books was titled “Three Seconds of Eternity.”
Today viewers can focus for a full 24 hours on Doisneau's eternal brilliance, Thanks to Google!
First Published: Saturday, April 14, 2012, 12:48