1704299308 Francoise Bornet the woman in the famous photo of Doisneau39s

Françoise Bornet, the woman in the famous photo of Doisneau's kiss, dies in Paris

Francoise Bornet the woman in the famous photo of Doisneau39s

Françoise Bornet, the female protagonist of the famous photograph of the kiss by Robert Doisneau (1912-1994) in front of the Paris City Hall, died on December 25 at the age of 93 in Évreux (Normandy) as a result of a domestic violence accident. However, his death was not reported in the French press until Tuesday. Bornet went into eternity for the black-and-white picture Doisneau took of her kissing her then-boyfriend Jacques Carteaud, a drama student like herself.

The photo, entitled “The Kiss at the Hôtel de Ville,” was taken in the spring of 1950, when she was barely 20 and Carteaud was 23, and was part of a report that Life magazine had Doisneau run about lovers in Paris the joy of life in the French capital after the terrible years of German occupation in the Second World War. Doisneau, a classic 20th century photographer, said: “Photography is like stopping life to fight death, but it is a losing battle from the start.”

Doisneau himself humorously told the story of this image in a documentary dedicated to his life and work. He was responsible for hiring the actors for the report and had them pose in various recognizable locations around Paris. As sometimes happens in the history of photography, the snapshot was forgotten after it was taken. In addition, Bornet and Carteaud broke off their relationship. She continued to work at the theater, performing plays directed by François Périer and Pierre Brasseur, also actors. She eventually married Alain Bornet, from whom she took her married name.

In 1988, a French magazine restored this image and wondered what had become of these young people. This was the beginning of the boom of this image, supported by the mass reproduction of postcards, posters and mugs depicting the couple's moment of passion and symbolizing romantic Paris.

However, the success of this success was dashed for Doisneau when, in 1993, Bornet wanted to charge him a percentage of whatever the photograph produced. The French judge denied this with the strange argument that his face was not clearly recognized because it was obscured by Carteaud's face, but mainly because he testified in favor of Doisneau at the trial. The photographer's eldest daughter, Annete, explained in 2016 at an exhibition in Madrid that this process cost her father his health and life, as he died months later. “He could never understand it. Although he died of a liver problem, deep down it was sadness that killed him,” he lamented.

Doisneau was a man shaped by his mother's early death when he was only seven years old and the harsh treatment of the woman his father later married. As a self-taught artist, he had the people skills to win over his models and, thanks to his craft, he became friends with numerous artists. His photography is characterized by the search for the beauty of life in everyday scenes, and although he portrayed humble people, he always emphasized their dignity. In 1932 he published his first report on the Paris Trail and then worked alongside his own work as an industrial photographer in a Renault factory and as a reporter at the Rapho agency. For photography fans there are his books such as “The Outskirts of Paris” and “Snapshots of Paris” as well as the image of perhaps the most famous kiss in history, although it was a prepared kiss, but what a kiss.

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