martedì 25 novembre 2014

Robert Doisneau- The Kiss in Front of City Hall and the price of Fame.

The Kiss from Robert Doisneau - Paris 1950

If you ever dream yourself in Paris while you are in love, it's highly possible you dream something like that. This picture is not only an icon of Love in Paris but it also represents the return of peaceful times in the postwar Europe. However, for professionals  photographers this inspiring image should be a lesson to learn if you have to deal with bureaucracy and release forms.

Doisneau was on assignment for LIFE and the editors intentions were to go on exploiting the cliché that America embrace about Paris: A passionate city where people kiss in public without causing scandalous reactions - remenber: we are in 1950- and no one could be best for working in the streets than Doisneau. He consumed thousands  of reels in the market halls  portraying clochards, merchants, ordinary people and desperate souls. Doisneau would came the best witness of the life in the streets of Old Paris that the world could ever have. Even though, he was not famous for the time of the assignment. As a matter of fact Life published the picture without any singular relevance in the double-page spread layout and with no mention of the photographer's name .

The picture published for first time in LIFE, 1950.

Time went bye and what is ordinary today, it will be vintage tomorrow. Decades later the archive of Doisneau became a never-ending source of a gone era and their pictures would became a nostalgic window to glimpse the everyday life of parisians. With time The Kiss displayed its iconographic strenght and was reproduced in postcards, posters and any kind of Paris souvenirs and turned into one of the best sellers products worldwide and the photographer was deservedly recognized.

Up to here, it would be the happy end in appreciation of a career's photographer. But in 1988 a couple from Ivry contacted the photographer and claimed royalties for an enormous amount of money arguing that they were the young lovers in the picture. The affaire finished in a court trial with Doisneau telling that the picture was a staged shooting with paid actors under contract with LIFE. The court give reason to the photographer against the pretenders but the exposition of the case encourage the real actors - Jacques Cartaud e Françoise Bornet- who actually posed in the picture to do the same. They even asked for a higher amount that the former claimers and handle an autographed picture that the photographer gifted to her after the shooting as a prof in trial. The court again gave the reason to Doisneau since he had paid for the arranged session but the whole affair harmed his reputation and throw a suspicious light over his whole work as photoreporter.

Nowaday, the question is still open for photojournalists who have to face his everyday work in the street. Should we arrange fake situations which represented the story we want to tell with a good release form signed before the click? Or should we do our job and suddenly run to deal with anyone appearing in the frame to have our release form signed?

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