Paris, 1988, by Brian Harris

Alan Sparrow introduces this month’s image

This beautiful picture was taken in the Jardin des Tuileries, Paris, by Brian Harris in around 1988. Brian, a photographer who worked for The Independentfor many years in an incredible career, tells us: “At the time I used to travel to Paris a lot to the wonderful city of light often on assignment for my paper.

“This frame was made on one of my many walks through the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries. I felt it summed up my style of photography - seen imagery, unforced, honest and real.”

Observing those around them is very much part of the photographer’s brief, and street photography is one of the clubs in the professional photographer’s bag, but now it has to be practiced with some care.

“Back in the 1980s it was possible to photograph street life in the tradition of many European photographers before me’’ Brian says,’’ but now, you are likely to end up with a biff on the nose for making such an innocent image.”

In 1950 Robert Doisneau took a picture from a seat outside a café of a young couple walking past him and kissing. The picture epitomised the style of his photography, sur le vif (on the hoof) as it was described. He would “walk and walk and walk some more” he said. and his photographs captured the Paris of the 50s forever.

However, even this purist style had its problems. It was later revealed that the picture was not quite as sur le vif as we were led to believe, and that the couple were models primed to achieve the photo.

More problems arose in July this year when a photo of two people kissing (above) offended many, with the man who took it saying he was beaten and fired from his job, as reported in TheWashington Post. Bangladeshi photographer Jibon Ahmed said that he was scouting for photographs when he saw a couple “kissing” in the rain, a moment that filled him with delight. He captured the moment in one click and sent it to his newsroom, but was disappointed when his editors decided not to run the photo. Ahmed told TheWashington Postthat the couple did not object to being photographed, which was done in a public place, so he posted the picture on social media and it quickly went viral.

But it was not popular with everybody, and one conservative blogger wrote: “Lovers are getting more audacious by the day. Earlier these things were done in secret. Now they are doing it in broad daylight. The day is not far when they will be making love in public”.

This picture and more of the work of Brian Harris is available from Fleet Streets Finest :

Brian Harris’s book is available from
Amazon: Me/dp/0957540558 or from my publisher: minister-hit-me.htmlor direct from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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