Born in Gentilly, France in 1912, Robert Doisneau studied lithography at the Ecole Estienne in Paris from 1926 to 1929. He worked as a lithographer before discovering photography in 1930. In 1934, he began work as a photographer for Renault. When World War II broke out in 1939, Mr Doisneau served in the infantry of the French army. He joined the French Resistance in 1940.
After the war, Mr Doisneau worked for several newspapers and magazines in France. In 1949, he published La banlieue de Paris, which captured the changing landscape of the Parisian suburbs. His work is among the most recognizable of French photographers. He received the Kodak Prize in 1947, the Nièpce Prize in 1956, the Grand Prix National de la Photographie in 1983, and he became a chevalier in the French Légion d'honneur in 1984. Robert Doisneau died in 1994 in France.
Mr Doisneau created two photo stories for WHO. His Day in the Life of a Parisian Office Worker followed a young mother working for the central office of the French Social Security administration. He also produced a story on rural health care in France documenting the work of a country doctor.
"My photographs are completely subjective… They grasp that 'unevenness' that goes against the order of things. They show the world as I would like it to be at all times… I try to slip in softly, 'look at that which I have seen. You passed near it today, but look for yourselves, and tomorrow you will find things around you that will make you laugh or move you."
-- Robert Doisneau. In: Colin Naylor, ed. Contemporary Photographers, Chicago and London, St. James, 1998.