Robert Doisneau and Mirrors

Google reminded of the 100th anniversary of Robert Doisneau, famous France (Parisan even) photographer of the last century. 

He is not very well known among non-photographers, although some of his blockbuster pictures inevitable bump into any modern European tourist, at least in form of the souvenir cards; and some of them even have mirrors on them.

This, for example, one examples from his famous series Un regard oblique, A sideway glance (1948)

This is a “mirror-work” not only because there’s a lot of reflections here, and the picture is indeed taken through the glass window. But the girl in that painting is looking at the mirror as well ! (and the man is thus engaged in “royal affair“, to look at a half-naked woman looking in a mirror).

But Doisneau also has a few more ‘explicitly’ mirrors, too. I will put a few of them here, the ones I found so far. 

Les enfants en costumes pour un bal dans une salle avec un miroir (1948)

Les Quatre Sergents de la Rochelle, rue Mouffetard, Paris (1950)

Four Sergent from La Rochelle is an episode widely known in France (but little beyond it), about four officers who were trying to organize a coup to overthrow Louis 18th in 1821, but had been caught and went under the guillotine. The photographs shows a relief with this scene, next the mirror.


122, Rue de Provence, Paris (1952)

One-Two-Two was one of the most famous and luxurious brothels in Paris in 1930-s-1940s. Perhaps it’s not immediately clear, but there are the two mirrors in this picture (and it is actually a self-portrait as well).

But the master had a “proper” self-portrait with a mirror too:

The beauty of all this works is that they are self-explanatory, or rather do not require any explanations; because if you start explaining them, it’s then very difficult to stop until you write a small novel.

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