I took a weekend trip to Siena the other weekend and will blog about this soon. But whilst there, I popped into a book shop in the historic centre (where I stayed at the Grand Hotel Continental) and spotted a fabulous book about one of my favourite photographers, Robert Doisneau. In fact, I think he’s my very fave. He was a French photographer, best known for his work around the streets of Paris, using a Leica camera. Alas, the book is in Italian but who cares – it’s the photos I wanted.

I remember, way back when I was about 10 or 12 years old, I first saw his outstanding photos. I was already into photography, as was my Dad. We used to photograph stuff together on weekends. Actually, when I get back to New Zealand, I’ll dig out my old photos and post them. I was so stunned by the above photo that I vowed to always try for minimalism and mood. I mean, just look at the photo – there’s nothing much to it really. A building, a cobblestoned road and a man turning the corner. But the power of this photo is extraordinary. Where is the man going or coming from? Is he in a safe area? Is it cold or just wet and misty? You almost feel like you are spying on this solitary walker as he goes about his business. Of course, the drama of the photo also comes from it being in old film black and white.

I think this is why I went back to film photography a couple of years ago and why I’m always busy taking street scene photos. It’s the influence of this extraordinary photographer who was born in 1912 and really pioneered photojournalism. Other photos of his that I love are below. The first photo of a couple kissing is probably his most well-known.

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