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Bilgi Reklam

on 13 November 2013

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Remembering the central features of the humanistic paradigm...
Universality: the centrality of universalistic human emotions as subject-matter

Historicity: a place-time specificity in the framing of the image
(background, contextualization)

Quotidienality: a concentration on everyday life, the ordinary existence of popular class

Empathy: a sense of empathy or complicity with the subject of representation

Commonality: photographer's viewpoint reflects popular class'

Monochromacity: image is rendered in monochrome
The themes that commonly appear in humanists' works

Major areas relating to concerns of French society at that time & photographers' personal interests

La rue - the street
Children and play
The family & marriage
Love and lovers
Paris and its sights
Clochards -homeless and marginal characters
Fetes populaires - fairs and celebrations
Habitations - housing and housing conditions
Work and craft

The street
By humanistic photography's very nature

Everyday life scenes can mostly be caught on the streets

Not in the studio, outside, in an instant

A naturalism in their approach

Use of available light, not artificial

Even if it's fiction; reproduction of original ambiance/scene
Street is where everyday life of ordinary people occurs

Free entertainment

Mac Orlan: social fantastic of the street

Street is a space which is the object of activity


Ideas about modernity - tendency to produce images of modern city

Wandering in the streets & watching

Baudelaire - flaneur "ebb and flow of urban crowd"

Doisneau: "Paris is a theatre where you pay for your seat by wasting time
Extensive change in society, culture as well as industry and commerce

Arena of popular life and culture

Surrealists identified street as a key site for a fantastic world

Eugene Atget - streets and their inhabitants, often blurred, ghostlike with long exposures

They find support for the idea: "Paris was a dream capital and urban labyrinth of memory and desire"

Bizarre juxtapositions of archaic & modern and human & inanimate

Photography is an art of instinct and immediacy

Photographer is a casual spectator who observes the fantastic social of the street by taking part in it

Surrealists see the city as a metaphor for the essential irrationality of modern life

City street is a stage on which all sorts of amazing stories are enacted

Offers continuous spectacle, unending series of tableaux, narrative tradition of ordinary Parisians

Capturing moments in this flow of daily life - poems of the street
Daily life of popular class in the streets

Uncanny correspondence btw anonymous passers-by and the cut-out figures of an advertising display

The most careful and lyrical witnesses of the present

Doisneau & Ronis were influenced by Kertesz - yet were more humanized

The people and the advertising images are as one: we do not see them as members of a social group

The photo does not inform our understanding of popular class
Andre Kertesz was not a central member of French humanistic photography

However this work was accepted as highly influential

Avenue Simon Bolivar
Andre Kertesz, Dubo Dubon, Dubonnet
Juxtaposition of archaic and modern & human and inanimate

Less like cardboard cutouts than in Kertesz's

A woman with her child carefully negotiates the steps

A man drives his horse

A shoe-mender serves his customer

A couple push their child in a pram

A woman walks w/pushchair

A worker mends the traffic light

We do not see the figures in
close-up but they seem like real

They are doing their normal

Represent the normal life in the

They humanize the streets as a
space by their presence

We are viewing a community

Their social condition is relatively similar

We can easily name them as members of popular class

Working-class quarter of Paris

L'accordeoniste de la Rue Moufetard
We are in a more mysterious territory

Individuals are quite clearly seen

A woman on the right

A man (probably an art student)

A blind accordionist in the front

Others are attendants with their
backs facing us

Obviously absorbed in something

To reinforce the obscurity a no entry sign stands above them

Beyond bizarre juxtaposition

Solidarity and popular class

Apart from the art student -
he is an observer from the
outside - all of the figures are
dressed simply and modestly

We are on the corner of a
shopping street

Area is quite run-down

Homeless people and clochards
lived there

We are in a clear habitat of popular class

Crowd has turned their back on
the accordionist

More interested in the amusement
of the street corner

Woman gazing outside the frame,
has little interest on the
accordionist either

Accordionist is the object of the
gaze of the art-student and
photographer alone

Man is isolated by his disability (blindness) from involvement in the
spectacle of the street although he is one of the producers of the entertainment
Maybe he is wounded in the war

Doisneau is telling us that we are
forgetting who sacrificed for France

We are too concerned with our own
welfare to the detriment of others

Only person seems interested in the
accordionist is the art student

He pays attention to him, making him
the subject of his drawing

Child and play
Childhood and play in the post-war era

Children are a part of this reconstruction

Births and population - great emphasis on the need of rebuilding the society and the nation

From 1945, it was a social responsible thing to have children

Large families became on object of respect, not a morally disapproved matter of fact

Remember Foucault's discourse - sexuality

Giving birth was respectable among popular class, a duty even - mothers who had more than 5 children received a medal
Baby-boom in post-war era was a result of:

Return of large population of younger male population from imprisonment in Germany or internal exile in Southern France

Increase in birth rate, decrease in infant deaths

It would be abnormal if humanists did not represented children in their work

Most of the photographers became parents at that time!

Ronis' son Vincent
launching a model aeroplane
Michel Gabriel
Young Michel Gabriel proudly
carrying his 2 bottle of wine

A new and full of life generation
of French children

Popular class confident
of its position in the society

Michel is evidently proud that he is
been given the responsibility of
bringing the wines
- diet of popular class

He is showing the girls: this is not
a errand, but a game

A natural site, an ordinary place
of popular class

Childhood and play
- a solidaristic viewpoint

Different age groups
From 14-15 to infants

Happily co-exist in the wrecked

Wasteland of the zone, on the
outskirts of the city

Not far from Doisneau's place!

French birth-rate heavily growing

Waste and destruction vs.
joy of children

Their vulnerability

A universal value - sanctity of a happy childhood - counterposed and reinforced by the wrecked car - symbolic of war and conflict

Children's reaction - camouflaging toy prams as tanks

Children's car
Nursery school in the rue de
An image very familiar to the parents of
that era:

A line of children, holding hands two by
two, led by their children across a
school yard

Observe from a window of the school

A scene which can be seen by teachers
or pupils

The idea that these children are being
carefully protected and nurtured

They are the future of France

Note: this image was used in a campaign to encourage parents about the immunization of children

Emphasis on familial themes

Links to others (children and play, love and lovers, housing and housing conditions)

Force on family as a social institution

High rate of divorce and separation

One-third of all pregnancies were unwanted

Primitive birth control & abortion

Women dying bcs of back-street/self-induced terminations

French family planning clinic was not set up until 1961

Social welfare reforms by government - serving for support to family

Working class family income increased - payments & allowances

Centrality of the family - the popular conscious

As a means of rebuilding France

Regime favoured larger families & penalized single and households without children

Rehabilitation of the family

Child took central place, was source of happiness
By 1946 it was regarded that women shared the same rights with men

BUT there were contradictions

Authority was property of father, tenderness of mother

But divorce children were given to mother

Birth rate was important - bourgeoisie family model was dominant

Few middle and upper class women worked, they were in household
Family changes: larger than before

Feelings of affection as the criterion of partner choice

However traditions remained!

Institution of marriage

Family is the only place of reproduction

Family relations are highly hierarchical

Sexuality is still a taboo, single mothers are pointed out in streets

Reproduction of moral framework
Marriage ceremony in
A peaceful evening
A cod-fisherman takes his leave
Family being portrayed
outside their shack
Love & Lovers
Centrality of love and affection as the basis of marriage and family in post-war France

Remember Doisneau's kissing couple in front of Hotel de Ville

Theme of love and lovers - love of humanity

Love bridges issues about family, fraternity

Romantic associations

Couple kissing
in front of a motorcycle
Representation of love

Sexuality is limited to at best a kiss or close physical proximity

Shared sense of modesty

Explicit sexuality and erotic imagery is excluded;

World of the night: night clubs, bars, dance halls

Tattooed people from messy bistrots

Photographers ensured that the photos were cropped to exclude these
Lovers at the Bastille
Paris sights

Architecture, streets, public spaces

City's economic and social overtones

Massive exodus from countryside to work in factories, offices

One million male workers left agriculture for cities

Role of Paris in new France had ambiguities

Changing Paris: both modernism & resemblance of a village

Hilly quarter, winding roads, old buildings, frequent dead-ends - slightly dangerous

Ordinary people's drinking and socializing places (cafe, dance hall)

Areas of artisans, craftsmen, small factories

Edge between the civilization of the city and savagery zone

Wasteland between Paris and countryside

Poetic and mysterious force of everyday life

Strong market in France for album books

Well-produced collections of photographs on a given theme + supplementary text

Banlieue de Paris, Instantanes de Paris, Images a la Sauvette, Paris des Reves, Grand Bal du Printemps, Charmes de Londres, Paradis Terrestre

Publications of poetic realism of humanistic photography

References to Parisian monuments

Symbolic role of Paris as the representation of new France, combining the past and present - touristic images


Exotic world of marginal people of the night

Homeless, vagrant

Free of all attachments and conventions, humanity in its purest state

Rather than marginalizing them they are included within the framework of humanism

Figures as a romantic and mysterious figure

Witness of all street stories

Place Vendome
Place de la Bastille
Well-established role in the economy and society of post-war Paris

Define the limits of normality

Integral element of city's commons (avam - ayak takımı)

A microcosmic community, a subculture

In post-war era, 5000 or more clochards in some districts of Paris

Lived in abandoned private mansions, ancient apartment buildings

Network of restaurants, bistrots, small hotels catered them

Does not work, has obligations, own way of getting by

Gets by at night, sleeps during the day, on a bench, ventilation grill, pavement, under bridges, paths of Seine

Begging outside the church, collecting cigarette ends in the streets to sell in market, sifting thru the rubbish to find something to sell

A miserable trade as freaks in cafes and bars - showing their tattoos and deformities to people

Worked for market traders of Les Halles, unloading the products delivered, clearing old cabbages who would not be sold

Stole some of what they handled - an amount traditionally allowed by traders
Fetes Populaires
Celebration of key moments

Sense of a solidaristic community

Local and national solidarities

Ubiquity of fairs and celebrations

Common practice of holding street parties for:

14 July - National (Bastille) day

Occasion for simple enjoyment

Celebrations for traditional and communitarian lifestyle
Contact sheet of
12 images taken from
14 July celebrations, 1949
In the aftermath of war, celebrations had great significance

Great interest in side-shows and fairgrounds

Communal aspects of a street party

Popular entertainment involved everybody, young & old

Celebrations spill over from public to private space

Band in front of Maison de la Famille - intentional juxtapoisition of the building and people

Rural celebrations,
local events

Outer suburbs but
offer an image of an
urbanized fest

Development of leisure,
not only work

Not everyday life,
a symbol of another life

Privatized life - car, TV,
washing machine,

These goods helped to
create leisure
Popular celebrations of popular culture

Motivation: high culture humiliated popular entertainment

These images cocked a snook at authority

Side-show people represented a marginal and alternative popular subculture - like clochards

Touring fairs, touring performers

Such material is highly photogenic - for humanists

Evokes solidaristic aspects of popular entertainment
Between cafe, bar, and pub

Simple eating place

A locus of community life, a public space

Communal enjoyment, not privatized

Functioning of local communities & solidaristic activities

Bistrot life is a cultural form

Oral narrative tradition
Place where friends, lovers, business addressees meet

Artists, writers exercise their profession (Sartre, Beauvoir worked at a cafe table)

Political groups, local sports clubs

Universality: accessibility to everyone

Even the most scruffy wanderer could experience the simple pleasure of entering a familiar cafe, shaking hands and talking about his life

Traveler entertainers (accordionists, tattoo and deformity exhibitors can also be found in bistrots)
Summer cafe
Summer cafe
Habitations - housing & housing conditions
In post-war France:

- Industry had to be renovated

- Needs of an expanding society had to be met

- New families had to be housed

Housing crisis

Immigration from rural - need to renovate industrial base

Housing was one of the priorities (besides energy, transport, steelmaking, etc.)

Shanty towns around great cities (industrial workers - rural people, immigrants)

Housing deficit - Lack of 1.5 million homes, 4.5 million people lacked a roof

Solution to this problem was the creation of vast apartment blocks of social housing built on greenfield sites

In the medium term, this functioned as the solution to the problem but in the long term, created major social problems

Domestic space theme was mostly not an assignment but photographers' own interests

Rising importance of working class

A productive picture

Industrial workers were represented in a positive light

As photographers identified with popular class, they voluntarily highlighted workers

Struggles, resistance, strikes, conflicts made the state respective of working class

Great industrial bastions: coal mines, iron and steelworks, textile, automobile works

Doisneau and Ronis worked for communist press

Social themes: work conditions, strikes, welfare issues

Heroism of physical labour

Representations of workers meant much to working class
King and Queen
of Tramps
and their
Monsieur et
Madame Grafino
Reintegration of French society

The visual images created by photographers constituted a new and distinctive language

Photographs explain immediately,
Better than a hundred pages of text,
Certain aspects of the world, certain current problems

Picture should speak for itself - universal language

Charbonnierre - bad housing conditions
Ronis, bidonville
social housing
Miner being washed by his wife
Port of market
Doisneau's "Suitcase Race"
Publications, exhibitions

Humanist inspired Magnum Photos agency in Paris & NY

Integrated story ideas bespoke a universal humanity


"emphasis on human aspect of things,
tender simplicity,
sly humour,
familiar and convincing aliveness..."
By the end of 1950s, privatization increased

Solidaristic base of urban communities eroded

Everyday life was conducted not in public spaces, but behind closed doors

Magazine photography

A younger generation of photographers with an agressive perspective

Humanistic photography lost its importance
TV began to compete with illustrated images

Attention of the reader

Illustration of daily life became outmoded

No more celebrations - representations/action

Documentary photography - images of society

Representations of these images played a role in a social, political, economical and cultural change

Dominant representational paradigm - links btw images and ideas

Social and cultural contexts

Truth value - compared to other materials of media - magazine, newspaper, book, TV

subjective nterpretation or objective representation?

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