Photography Week Day 1: ‘Maidens in Waiting’, Blackpool, 1951 by Bert Hardy

This week will be a quiet week for blogging. As I’ve accumulated a number of photos to add to my Photos of the week, I thought that posting one a day for a week would be entertaining.

In all of the 29 photos of the week, only a few have been by a British photographer. With this photo by Bert Hardy I’m correcting that balance. Bert Hardy [1913 -1995] was a documentary and press photographer whose work was published in Picture Post magazine from 1941 to 1954. He also served as a war photographer in World War 2.

Bert Hardy’s ‘Maidens in Waiting’, Blackpool, 1951 is one of his most loved photos. In 2011, the identity of the girl in the polka dot dress became a news story, as reported in the Daily Telegraph.

Photo of the week No.29: Banlieue, Paris, 1945 by Robert Doisneau

My Photo of the week No.24 featured Robert Doisneau’s famous photo – The Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville, and the lovely story about it.

Here’s another Robert Doisneau photo, again true to his principles of capturing street culture, and photo-journalistic approach. In the Wikipedia entry for Doisineau is this quote of his,

The marvels of daily life are so exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street. — Robert Doisneau

That quotation is appropriate to this week’s photo of the week by Robert Doiseneau, entitled Banlieue, Paris, 1945,

Photo of the week No.28: Austin, Texas 1963 by Thomas Hoepker

Thomas Hoepker is a photographer for Magnum Photos, noted for his stylish colour photos, and who has a Facebook page HERE.

I’ve not, however, chosen a colour photo from his archive, although there’s a controversial one described below. The photo is titled Austin, Texas 1963.

The image is of a teenage girl absorbed listening to music from a juke box, in what appears to be a quiet small-town cafe, where perhaps the only entertainment available is the selecting of music from a juke box. The girl’s absorption seems to capture the inherent distraction of youth in the 1960’s.

Below the black and white photo, is a video of the British Journal of Photography discussing with Hoepker his controversial photo of the 9/11 disaster in New York.

Photo of the week No.27: Montmartre, Paris, 1955 by Willy Ronis

This photo of the week is by Willy Ronis, a French photographer (1910-2009), whose work I’ve not previously posted in my Photo of the Week series. Ronis joined the Rapho photo agency with notable photographers, Brassaï, and Robert Doisneau. Preferring to work in France, and in Paris and Provence, and in particular to photograph street life in the moment.

The photo I’ve selected of his is Montmartre, Paris, 1955. It perfectly exemplifies his love of Paris, and of popular life, and a photo that’s not staged, but is of the moment. Undoubtedly this a photo of the moment, but how long did he wait for the perfect choreography of people. The woman in the window, methinks gives the answer. He waited, as she was watching him. That’s my supposition. [Click on photo to enlarge]. Ronis’s obituary HERE in The Daily Telegraph.

Photo of the week No.26: In Silvertown, 1964 by John Claridge

As a boy growing up in the docklands in the East End of London, John Claridge used his camera to capture the soul of the docks. His story is eloquently told in Along the Thames with John Claridge in the Spitalfields Life blog article of May 2, 2012.

Hatip: Spitalfields Life for photo

Photo of the Week No.24: The Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville by Robert Doisneau

Photojournalist’s seem to have a penchant for capturing people kissing. Think of the V-J Day Kiss by Alfred Eisenstaedt, for one such example.

This photo of the week is in a similar vein. It’s the Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville by Robert Doisneau. The photo was taken in 1950 in the busy streets of Paris by the Paris Town Hall. There’s a delightful story behind the photo, which is from Wikipedia, and you can read beneath the photo. [Click on image to expand]

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The identity of the couple remained a mystery until 1992. Jean and Denise Lavergne erroneously believed themselves to be the couple in The Kiss, and when Robert and Annette Doisneau (his older daughter and also his assistant at the time) met them for lunch in the 1980s he “did not want to shatter their dream” so he said nothing. This resulted in them taking him to court for “taking their picture without their knowledge”, because under French law an individual owns the rights to their own likeness.

The court action forced Doisneau to reveal that he posed the shot using Françoise Delbart and Jacques Carteaud, lovers whom he had just seen kissing, but had not photographed initially because of his natural reserve; he approached them and asked if they would repeat the kiss. He won the court case against the Lavergnes. Doisneau said in 1992, “I would never have dared to photograph people like that. Lovers kissing in the street, those couples are rarely legitimate.”

The couple in Le baiser were Françoise Delbart, 20, and Jacques Carteaud, 23, both aspiring actors. In 2005 Françoise Bornet (née Delbart) stated that, “He told us we were charming, and asked if we could kiss again for the camera. We didn’t mind. We were used to kissing. We were doing it all the time then, it was delicious. Monsieur Doisneau was adorable, very low key, very relaxed.” They posed at the Place de la Concorde, the Rue de Rivoli and finally the Hôtel de Ville. The photograph was published in 12 June 1950, issue of Life. The relationship between Delbart and Carteaud only lasted for nine months. Delbart continued her acting career, but Carteaud gave up acting to become a wine producer.

In 1950 Françoise Bornet was given an original print of the photograph, bearing Doisneau’s signature and stamp, as part of the payment for her “work”. In April 2005 she sold the print at auction for €155,000 to an unidentified Swiss collector via the Paris auctioneers Artcurial Briest-Poulain-Le Fur.

Photo of the week No.23: The Steerage by Alfred Stieglitz

This week’s photo is The Steerage by Alfred Stieglitz, taken in June 1907 while Stieglitz and his family sailed from New York to Bremen on the SS Kaiser Wilhelm II.

The photo is viewed as influential in the modernist movement. It is included in Time Magzine’s 100 Most Influential Images of All Time. Time has this quote of Stieglitz on his photo,

If all my photographs were lost and I’d be represented by just one, The Steerage, I’d be satisfied.

It’s undoubtedly a strong image. Whether it deserves the accolades given to it I’m less certain. As Stieglitz was travelling in first class, the photo was taken from that area. Maybe I’m wrong, but I can’t help thinking that this image is in some way judgmental, looking down, as it were, on the steerage passengers. The angles in the composition are striking, and it’s this that stands out, rather than the people. There are serious analyses of the photo, HEREHERE, and in depth HERE, if your’e that keen to know more about the image and the man. Anyway, you judge. [Click on image to enlarge]

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