Robert Doisneau: The Vogue Years

Image of Robert Doisneau: The Vogue Years (Langue anglaise)
Release Date: 
September 11, 2017
Reviewed by: 

In the annals or fashion photography Robert Doisneau is not the name that is on the tip of everyone’s tongue or on the Top 10 list. He has undoubtedly been overshadowed by the likes of Avedon, Penn, Norman Parkinson, and Henry Clarke, to name a few. Yet this lensman has surely left an indelible mark within the sphere. It is possible in part that the reason for his less than formidable renown is due to the variety of his subject matter, which was not all fashion related.

Robert Doisneau: The Vogue Years chronicles a brief moment, four years to be exact, in his life when he found himself immersed within the world of Paris Vogue, which included a lifelong friendship with Edmonde Charles-Roux. If you are expecting only fashion images then be prepared to have all your preconceived notions evaporate when reviewing this engrossing visual diary of the times. Doisneau was much more than just a fashion photographer; during his tenure at Vogue he was the “eyes” of all things Parisian.

“In short, my job at Vogue could be divided into three parts. First, the cultural life of Paris that I covered . . . a kind of ‘face book’ featuring artists, writers, and creators of all kinds whose names were on everyone’s lips. Next, my photographs of fashionable models, on location in the city or against the formidable white background of the studio. And finally, the third part: society life, which has left me with the most enduring memories.”  

If you take into account the date of the above quote which was sometime in the latter part of his life in 1986, you can ascertain that Doisneau was quite prescient in his job description—this stifled him at the same time. Take note of the man’s uncanny compositional and lighting talents as well as his subjects.

Unquestionably, Robert Doisneau: The Vogue Years is nothing short of an eye opening experience, and the name Doisneau will be forever etched in your mind when it comes to greats of this creative profession.

The last thing to be considered here is that “this handsome volume—which features an open spine binding so that it lays flat to show off the photographs to their best advantage . . .” provides an opportunity to take part in a format that so many other books of this genre might benefit from. Robert Doisneau: The Vogue Years is a must own, must read, and a must cherish volume.