Four pictures snapped by French photographer Robert Doisneau are highlighted on Google’s home page today. Doisneau, who was born 100 years ago today, essentially did at the time what Google now does on a grander scale with Google Street View.
Doisneau, born in Gentilly, France, captured some 450,000 of images during his life. These pictures captured the scenes of the day as people of all ages lived their lives, much as Google Street View would when it debuted in France in 2008.
Since 2007, Google Street View has allowed users to view local panoramic street scenes, since expanding to cover much of the world. Accessible through Google Maps, you can access Street View by clicking and dragging the yellow “Pegman” to any location on your map.
“The marvels of daily life are so exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street,” Robert Doisneau once said of his street photography.
Doisneau picked up his first camera at the age of 16. He worked as an advertising photographer early in his career prior to the outbreak of World War II. Following the war, he freelanced as a photographer, selling his photos to magazines such as Life and Vogue.
In the Google Doodle, Google’s black and white letters are superimposed over four photos all taken during Doisneau's freelancing period:
- The left photo is “Le Remorqueur du Champ de Mars” (Tug on the Champ de Mars) from 1943.
- The top middle photo is “Trois petits enfants blancs, parc Monceau” (Three little white children, Parc Monceau) from 1971.
- The bottom middle photo is “Le Chien a Roulettes” (Dog on Wheels) from 1977.
- The right photo is “Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville” (The Kiss by the Hotel de Ville) from 1950.
The right photo is Doisneau’s most famous image. The iconic photo features a young couple kissing in the busy streets of Paris in front of city hall first appeared in Life magazine in the 1950s and has since appeared on numerous posters. The original print of the photo was sold for €155,000 (about $202,000 U.S.) in 2005 by the woman who posed for it in 1950.
Just as Google’s stated mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful, Doisneau himself created a thematic classification for his photos, allowing him to simplify searches of his records and enrich specific topics, according to the official Robert Doisneau website. These themes included science, politics, sports, the suburbs, and Paris: Occupation, Liberation.