Old Les Halles, by Doisneau

Photos showing life in the “belly of Paris” (le ventre de Paris) by Robert Doisneau are on display at Hôtel de Ville. The exhibit is free, and the photos of Les Halles are mostly black and white in simple black frames. Some from the 1960s, in color. No fancy matboards. No matboards at all. Les Halles was a busy place—no place to be fancy, judging from the photographs.

The photos of Doisneau show fresh and hard-working faces. They are fresh because the people voluntarily look into his camera. They knew him when he came to the market place to record action now and then. His first photos were in 1933. Pierre Delbos, a photographer friend of Robert Doisneau, said that what “surprised him” was how people would see Doisneau and come up to him. He didn’t have to ask them to have a photo taken. He says that Doisneau had a flair, a certain way of looking at the people; he really liked being around them.

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4 Responses to “Old Les Halles, by Doisneau”

  1. Comment by lauren pettersson | 02/25/12 at 12:13 am

    i was reading your blog and i have to wonder — who’s paying for this little hobby/extended vacation of yours? daddy & mommy or a husband? somebody’s bankrolling this.
    and yes, goddamn right, i’m jealous!

  2. Comment by Laurie | 02/25/12 at 3:01 am

    O, to be bankrolled. Nope, I earn my own keep and live very frugally.

  3. Comment by jeff | 02/26/12 at 4:21 pm

    I spend a month every year in Paris, no matter what! Somehow the finances just don’t seem to matter in the face of this wonderful city! It’s about what you really want. The difference in price between a BMW and a Chevy can finance two months in Paris. Who cares what you drive to work in. Season tickets to the Ravens will finance two weeks in Paris, so I study French on Sunday afternoon. The possibilities for trading gold for Paris boggles the mind!

  4. Comment by jeff | 02/26/12 at 4:22 pm

    Gold works but I meant to say “Golf”

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