New York

Robert Doisneau

If narrative is a weakness in Spero’s drawings, it is a strength in ROBERT DOISNEAU’s photographs. For Doisneau is a racconteur of the everyday. His camera roams the streets of Paris, capturing those transitory instants which reveal the candid humor, as well as the humanness, of ordinary events. The laughter of the incongruous recalls the vision of Lartigue. A woman pushing a baby carriage dashes across the street as the maze of cars behind her prepares for attack. A pigeon perches nonchalantly on top of a splattered statue head. A man gazes in consternation juxtaposed against the severed animal head hanging at a butcher shop. Each of Doisneau’s photos suggests its own story. A gendarme turns to a woman staring appalled at a couple kissing on the banks of the Seine. One fabricates an anecdote and imagines conversations as one muses over moments snatched out of time which imply a future and a past. The compulsion to weave a narrative around a fragmentary image so as to situate it in a history is pictorially realized in Doisneau’s series of passersbys’ varying expressions as they notice the painting of a nude woman exhibited in a gallery window. Furtive glances and puckered lips of surprised indignation document the hodgepodge flow of interactions that compose a story out of life. What is paramount in Doisneau’s vision is his ability to recognize and collect the glimpses of whimsy and human warmth that feed into the ongoing narrative of the mundane.

Susan Heinemann