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Photographers You Should Know: Robert Doisneau

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Information for the article was gathered from Robert Doisneau.com

French photographer Robert Doisneau’s work represents street photography, Parisian style.

‘Musician in the Rain.’ (Photo Credit: Robert Doisneau)

‘Musician in the Rain.’ (Photo Credit: Robert Doisneau)

Born April 14, 1912 in Gentilly, France, he studied engraving at the Ecole Estienne in Chantilly. Upon graduating, however, he found that his training was obsolete so he learned photography. He worked in the advertising department of pharmaceutical firm, providing detailed photographic work. He sold his first photo essay in 1932. The essay was about a flea market. The photos were purchased by the daily newspaper, L’Excelsior.

From then, Doisneau worked a variety of jobs: camera assistant to sculptor Andrei Vigneaux; military service and then as an industrial and advertising photographer for the French auto manufacturer Renault in 1934. In 1939, he was fired from the Renault job and he took up advertising and postcard photography to earn a living.

Doisneau worked for the Rapho photo agency prior to being drafted into military service in 1939. He was a soldier and a photographer for the French Resistance and he even had an opportunity to use the engraving training he received, manufacturing fake passports and identification papers. During the war, he photographed both the Occupation and Paris Liberation.

Doisneau’s cover portrait of Pablo Picasso for Life magazine (Photo Credit: Robert Doisneau)

Doisneau’s cover portrait of Pablo Picasso for Life magazine (Photo Credit: Robert Doisneau)

After the war, he worked for Life magazine and took up high society and fashion photography for Paris Vogue magazine. He also photographed many well known artists including Cocteau, Picasso and Leger.

Doisneau died April 1, 1994 in Paris.

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