Doisneau Photo 'The Kiss' Sells for $202K

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by jenna_g, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. In case anyone is interested.

  2. By VANESSA CZARNECKI, Associated Press Writer

    PARIS - The woman in Robert Doisneau's classic photograph of a couple stealing a passionate kiss on a Paris street sold her original print at an auction Monday for more than $200,000 ? about 10 times the expected sale price.

    "The Kiss at City Hall" was bought by an unidentified Swiss collector, who is expected to pay an additional $38,850 in taxes and other fees in addition to the $202,000 purchase price, according to Artcurial Briest Pulain le Fur auction house, where the sale took place.

    Before the auction, the house said the photograph was expected to sell for between $19,600 and $26,000.

    The photograph was put up for auction by Francoise Bornet ? a former actress who claims she and an old flame were the subjects of the image, which was taken in 1950 and skyrocketed to fame in 1986 when it was reprinted as a poster.

    "It's like a Christmas present," a delighted Bornet said of the sale.

    The black-and-white picture of a young couple kissing in front of Paris' City Hall with harried passers-by fading into the background evoked a spontaneous moment of romance that affirmed Paris' reputation as the city of blissful love.

    That it was not a spontaneous snapshot was confirmed by a lawsuit Bornet filed in the early 1990s. She sued Doisneau for $18,500 and a percentage of sales of the photo. The court in June 1993 rejected her claims, though the case forced Doisneau to confess to having used professionals instead of a couple caught off guard. The photographer died a year later in 1994.

    Still, the image has never lost its allure.

    Bornet says that in 1950 she and her boyfriend Jacques Carteaud were embracing in a cafe near the school where the two young students were studying theater. Doisneau, who was working on a photo series about lovers in Paris for Life magazine, approached them, Bornet says.

    They met a few days later to recreate the kiss. The photo appeared in Life magazine that year.

    The Rapho photo agency, Doisneau's employer when he took the picture, owns the rights to the photo. Bornet never received royalties from the reproduction and could only sell her photograph, which bears the late Doisneau's stamp on the back, for private use.

    Kathleen Grosset, the director of Rapho, said more than 500,000 posters and 400,000 postcards have been reprinted from the original.

    "Over the years, it must have made something like ?500,000 ($650,000) for both the agency and the photographer," Grosset said.
  3. Hmmm...well twice in recent months I could have snapped a couple sharing a peck but, well, it just seemed a little TOO intrusive. I suppose next time the opportunity presents itself I may reconsider...
  4. I guess you need to hire "professional actors" and stage the shot, then present it as a candid.
  5. Not bad for a posed photo.
  6. I have a couple unposed kissing shots where the couple was unawares I snapped a pic. Are these my moneymakers? Can I finally retire from my truck driving job with these? OK, maybe not. But any takers can e-mail me for a $10 5x7.
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  7. Incidentally, the poster cost $108 --- appropriately priced for mortals.
  8. No, Anthony! You can't retire on $10 5 x 7's.

    Offer a 16 x 20 in a 'limited edition' for $1750 matted but unframed.

    We gotta talk -:)

    Good candid snappers, by the way.
  9. I like yours too, Kent.

    The framing and the capture of his left hand and her right suggest this should easily fetch a price of ... aaaah ... $2250.
  10. Hey thanks Michael. I think I blew it though by not opening aperture to better blur the BG. Now whenever I look at it now I see things growing out of their heads. I think it belongs in my drawer with the other 'almost made it this time' shots.
  11. My portfolio has several photos of 'kissing couples' and I almost never pass up a chance to take a photo of two people deeply involving in osculation. Most viewers can readily identify and emotionally connect in a very deep way with such captures. There's something magic, I think, about two lovers kissing, or, as in one case recently posted, zeroing in for the kiss.

    I'm building a personal folder of such shots, and eventually, if I ever re-arrange my folders, I may devote an entire folder just to one of couples kissing. And not one of them ever will be posed. Doisneau posed a beautiful photo (having visualized it earlier, he recreated it), but couples engaged in kissing hardly need to be posed, they're usually so lost in their pursuits.

    For instance, last night I shot a couple in a place of imbibing (with flash, no less), and the couple kept kissing very intimately, and the woman kept kissing and even made that well-recognized gesture (named after winged creatures) to whoever the (anonymous) photographer was who made the photograph because she didn't even come up for air and couldn't even recognize that it was me. ;-))

    John (Crosley)
  12. The kiss was about a historic moment in time, there is more to it than a pretty kiss of a couple kissing, so stop copying, start thinking about work a bit more and for heavens sakes, if you arnt going to come up with any original work apart from this mundane image of a couple kissing, then stop calling your selfs artists. Make work not photo copies.
  13. James, you are on the money here!

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