Doisneau, 'Paris les Halles'

Exposition Robert Doisneau à l'Hôtel de Vill
© Atelier Robert Doisneau Robert Doisneau, 'Triporteur aux Halles'

It was in the ramshackle old Les Halles market in 1933 that famed Parisian photographer Robert Doisneau snapped his first picture. More than just the birthplace of his art, this market, ‘the belly of Paris’, became one of his favourite subjects. In the 60s, he would go there once a week at dawn to work through the crowds, capturing florists, butchers and fishmongers as if he wanted to infuse his film with the scent of their wares, be it of flowers or of kilos of cod. The exhibition at the Hôtel de Ville is organised by his two daughters, and is a celebration of the fascination of this famous suburbanite for the inner city Châtelet quarter. Whether he was using black and white film or colour, Doisneau was fixated on the architect Baltard’s creation to the point of obsession: when the stalls were moved out to Rungis in 1969, or when the glass canopy was destroyed in 1971, everything is recorded. The result is an exhibition that plunges Paris back to another, not so distant, era when the first arrondissement still contained the soul of the city.

By: TB / trans. Ellen Hardy


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