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Matinee: Robert Doisneau Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

14 November 2015

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 111th in our series of Saturday matinees today: Robert Doisneau.

And not only pleased. The news of the attacks on Paris came to us late in the afternoon Friday. As Scott Pelley, CBS news anchor and managing editor, reminded his audience later, first reports are always inaccurate. But they were terrible nonetheless.

We thought of skipping our usual matinee. It would be irreverent to ignore the news and go on with business as usual.

And then we thought that's not the way to carry on.

Instead, we thought, we should celebrate what makes us different from the sad souls that detonated themselves on a Friday night in the City of Lights, the birthplace of the Age of Enlightenment.

And who better to showcase than Robert Doisneau (pronounced correctly) whose images of Paris in the last century capture a playful world of children, lovers and eccentrics on the streets of the city.

That's not a question.

"The marvels of daily life are so exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street," he said. He was talking about a real place not a theme park, where he knew all too well that bad things also happen. But that didn't stop him.

"I don't photograph life as it is, but life as I would like it to be," he said.

There is a sympathy in his work that speaks to the best in us. You cannot help but smile as you recognize the scene he unfolds before you.

It's a world you want to step into. It is life as we would all like it to be. It depicts what we cherish however rare it may be. The humor, the romance, the nonsense, the fun, the beauty, the love.

There are a lot of videos featuring his work. This one by Juan Arrivi is a very recent one that plays well full screen. And the music isn't bad either.

With love. To Paris.

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