A kiss can be the most natural thing you can do. But not when you see yourself right after on millions of postcards, posters or other places.
This is what happened to the two anonymous lovers who appear in Robert Doisneau’s picture made near Hotel de Ville. The photo was shot in the ’50s and became very famous right after. The couple was considered a symbol of love in Paris. Everybody was curious about the lovers’ identity, but Doisneau likes to play games about this subject.
Jean and Denise Lavergne believed themselves to be the couple in the picture, but it was a mistake. A mistake that Doisneau didn’t want to correct when he met them for a lunch, only because he “did not want to shatter their dream”, as he declared for the press at that time. Things got complicated and the Larvegnes took him into court. According to French law, it is illegal to take pictures of people without their permission. The legal adventure made him recognize that the real characters in the picture were Françoise Delbart and Jacques Carteaud. According to BBC, both of them were aspiring actors at the time when Doisneau interrupted their kiss. “He told us we were charming, and asked if we could kiss again for the camera. We didn’t mind. We were used to kissing. We were doing it all the time then, it was delicious. Monsieur Doisneau was adorable, very low key, very relaxed”, said Françoise.
The couple only resisted 9 months, but their kiss was everlasting – courtesy to Robert Doisneau. He offered the girl the photo in original version, signed by him. She sold it in 2005 for 155 000 Euros, so we might also say that it was one of the most expensive kisses.