The Lighter Side of Paris

I once asked the French photographer Boubat if he was a romantic. He responded saying no “I’m a humanist. I’m interested in photographing people. There’s enough bad to be seen in the world.  I like to photograph and show what is good.”

French Humanist Photographers were among the best at portraying poetic moments and showing what was good about life after WWII.  Now a new book “The Lighter Side of Paris” (Paris qui rit!) brings together such photographers as Boubat, Doisneau and Kertesz, who not only captured the poetry of daily life but the funny moments too. This book features a collection of humorous pictures of Paris that bring a smile. The photographs include work by such stars as Henri Cartier Bresson and less known pictures by a very funny René Maltete as well as many remarkable anonymous photographers. Although most of the photos date from the post WWII period, several were taken in the 20’s and 30’s with a few capturing drole moments in the Belle Epoque.

French Humanist Photography was popular from the mid 40’s to the early 60’s.  Sometimes called poetic realism this photography celebrated the extraordinary in ordinary lives. One of the most famous pictures from this time was Doisneau’s “Kiss by the Hotel de Ville” (1950). The humanist movement was known in the U.S with the  “Family of Man” exhibition and subsequent book (1955).

This charming bilingual book published by Parigramme would make a great gift (and at 9.90 Euros pas cher) for lovers of 40s-50’s black and white Paris.