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Famous French Photographers

French photographers

The list of famous French photographers who helped develop the science and art of the camera is long and illustrious.

Photography has been one of France's many great gifts to the world. Since Niépce first produced the original permanent photoetchings in 1922, the French have been at the forefront of photographic technology, building on the first successes consistently throughout the 19th century until the turn of the twentieth century brought with it enormous developments in the field of both still and moving pictures.

Paris was the home of the photograph, and remains a city with a deep connection with the camera, not just as one of the most photogenic cities in the world but also as a place wherein what we now take for granted was was unveiled to an excited and curious world.

Doisneau's Paris

French photography as an art has long been associated with the capture of a very Gallic sense of the romantic. Famous photographers such as Robert Doisneau mastered the art of the effortless snap, encapsulating everything the world wanting to know about Parisian life, and greatly spreading its reputation as a city of love and impulsive human behaviour.

Doisneau's most famous snaps include 'Kiss By The Hotel' - an image which helped create the 'gay Paris' reputation which endures to this day, and which was reproduced by the thousands to sit on bedroom walls around the world. The majority of his work involves simple but symbolic human interactions in busy Parisian settings, showing those fragile and enduring moments when people come together against a backdrop of black and white urban sprawl.

Other Famous Names

Another hugely important photographer was Henri Cartier-Bresson, a man said to be the founding father of photojournalism. His style involves a real sense of verité, a truth and an ability to capture significant moments without posing, influencing or interfering with what was happening in shot.

He travelled around the world – most significantly in Africa and throughout the Soviet Union – bringing back with him important images of a changing world, images which were so powerful as to not require his explanation of what was happening in them.

Of course, one of the favourite subject of French photographers is fashion, and particularly street fashion. Few photographers were as respected or admired for their work in this field than Jacques Henri Lartigue, who effortlessly snapped the young, old and beautiful on the streets of France, or at the automobile races he also loved to photograph.


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