April 14, 2012

Poetry in pictures: street style à la Robert Doisneau

“The marvels of daily life are so exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.” Robert Doisneau, iconic French photographer, April 14th, 1912 - April 1st, 1994. 

Robert Doisneau was born today 100 years ago. A Parisian, Doisneau is the man behind the famous le baiser de l'hôtel de ville (aka "The Kiss) taken on the streets of Paris and one of the most awesome photos ever despite rumors it might have been staged. Even if it was staged, it was beautifully staged and retains the magic of a magical moment.

What makes a street style photograph special? Not only the style of the subjects but the eye of the photographer. Robert Doisneau definitely had the eye. Just look at the backgrounds: they have depth and are just as important as the characters in the foreground. All in all: poetry in a picture. That's what makes a good street style photographer. Of all the 'street style' sites around, so far, The Sartorialist has the magic eye. Seems like a predictable choice, but really, it's not.

One says 'a picture speaks more than a thousand words'; that only applies if the image does indeed tell a story. Robert Doiseau always told a story. So do the photos on The Sartorialist's site. Inspiring in a world of  sameness. I like it.

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