Tuesday, August 28, 2012

In his kiss

The Kiss by the Hotel de Ville, 1950

The Kiss by the Hotel de Ville is perhaps the most romantic photograph ever taken, and Robert Doisneau's most famous image. It has been reproduced for decades as a poster and postcard, iconic as an emblem for both idealized love and Paris as a dreamscape for couples. 

In 1993, the woman in the photo sued Doisneau for a share of its royalties. The case was dismissed, but as a result, the photographer so famous for capturing serendipitous moments of street life revealed the photograph had been staged. 

Doisneau had given the model a signed copy of the photograph in 1950, which she sold at auction (after his death) for $242,000. She told reporters, "The photo is posed but the kiss was real."


Harry Clarke said...

I really love Doiseneau's work and I agree that this photograph is beautiful. He really captured Paris in a light-hearted, romantic way and for me his post-war photography is his best. I didn't know that about the photograph though, so thank you for the post!

Susan said...

He photographed many kisses, yet Hotel de Ville stands out. Even though all photography captures a moment in time, this photo communicates the magical illusion of romance stopping time. Is it less powerful an image having been staged? For me, yes. Less romantic? No, definitely no.