Exhibition: Robert Doisneau, street photography

When I was a teenager I had a huge poster of the famous photo 'The Kiss' hanging on my bedroom wall. For me it reflected ultimate romance. No idea that this image had been taken by one of the most influential street photographer the world has known. You can imagine I was really happy that the Fotomuseum in Rotterdam was exhibiting Robert Doisneau while I was in The Netherlands.

I had high hopes going to this exhibition, in which 143 photos and documents were shown, including the 'The Kiss'.  And I was not disappointed. Not only did the exhibition give a great overview of Doisneau's life, career and the way his character is reflected in his work, it also highlighted the challenges and joys of being a street photographer. 

It's very obvious that Doisneau had a love for life. His images are radiant with humor, human interactions and the beauty of seemingly insignificant happenings. In one section this movie was shown, in which Doisneaux explains how he takes his images, in sequences of the images you can see how he waits for the right moment that shows what he is experiencing in the environment he's in. 


'Robert Doisneau reveal the secrets behind their images' Contacts  , Vol 1. The Great Tradition of Photojournalism [feature film, online] Richard Copans & Stan Neumann (director), ARTE, 1988, 14min 32sec, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvrMGqbUiQE (accessed 07/10/2013)

In this video Doisneau explains how he comes to take his images, the way he uses composition, finds luck or waits for it. Mostly he tells about what he finds interesting and how he shifted from wanting to tell a complete story to planting a seed that triggers the viewer's interest.  

Besides really enjoying all the images, their quality, human interest and humor, I learnt about how it takes time to get to good results, that street photography is some kind of magic game of expectation and anticipation, knowing what you want to show and let yourself be surprised by what's happening in front of the camera. But most of all, to be able really practice yourself in street photography, you have to get out there and just start.