A photo is like a stolen kiss | Édouard Boubat, 1923-1999

Edouard Boubat Lella Bretagne France 1947
Édouard Boubat, Lella, Bretagne, France, 1947

“A photographer is a witness. He has a moral duty. Every picture must be true and honest. I believe a photographer’s strength is his ability to accurately record reality. There are photographers who think they are lucky if they find unusual or special subject. But it is never the subject that is so marvelous. It is how alive and real the photographer can make it.”

Edouard Boubat

Edouard Boubat Le Pont Neuf Paris 1948
Édouard Boubat, Le Pont Neuf, Paris, 1948

“Was it the same light that enchanted the first photographers? It is the same, and it is still brand new—it is something that never wears out.”

” Whether you want to or not, a photo reproduces an atmosphere.”

“The wandering photographer sees the same show that everyone else sees. He, however, stops to watch it.”

” I think that the photos that we like were made when the photographer knew how to disappear. If there were a secret, certainly that would be it.”

” All my photographs are about meetings and about coups de foudre —love at first sight. To do that type of photography, one must wipe the canvas clean to prepare for chance encounters, be open and aware to such moments, otherwise it becomes a cliché—already seen and expected.”

Edouard Boubat Two Lovers On Louis Philippe Bridge Over The Seine In Paris February 1999

Edouard Boubat, Two Lovers On Louis Philippe Bridge Over The Seine In Paris, 1999

“Photography is made of everything and nothing. This nothing is to be done. A simple thank you: to the lovers, to the beaches, to the sun, to the encounters, to all those who are gone and of whom only a photo remains. This gratitude is mine.”

“There is a word we haven’t used yet: virginity… To make a photograph, the plate must be virgin, but your eye as well.”

Edouard Boubat Remy listening the sea Paris 1955
Édouard Boubat, Remy listening the sea, Paris, 1955

” There are certain pictures I can never take. We turn on the TV and are smothered with cruelty and suffering and I don’t need to add to it. So I just photograph peaceful things. A vase of flowers, a beautiful girl. Sometimes, through a peaceful face, I can bring something important into the world.”

“My pictures do not belong to me.”

” In some way, a photo is like a stolen kiss. In fact a kiss is always stolen, even if the woman is consenting. With a photograph it’s the same: always stolen, and still slightly consenting.”

Edouard Boubat Paris 1953

Edouard Boubat, Quai d’Anjou, Paris, 1953

“Sometimes I envy painters, it is wonderful to remain in front of a bouquet of flowers a whole morning, or even longer. A photographer is like a cloud, pushed all around, always dependent on the exterior world. That’s what I sometimes feel as a pain and an error.”

“To me, photography is like a quest, or a pilgrimage, or a hunt. I love painting, I love music, but photography is what has allowed me to get outside of myself.”

Edouard Boubat Premiere Niege au Luxembourg 1955

Edouard Boubat, Premiere Niege au Luxembourg, 1955

“Taking photographs is not something that happens only in a moment I press the button. It is a full-time occupation. For me there is difference between leisure and work.”

“Nowadays, photographers start out with ideas, and their photos become the expression of an idea. To my way of thinking, a photo should not depend on ideas, should go beyond ideas.”

” Millions of unnecessary photos are taken every day. People stand before the Pyramids and photograph them, when for three cents they could buy postcards which show them much better.”

Edouard Boubat, 1923-1999

Edouard Boubat 1943
Édouard Boubat, 1943


French poet Jacques Prévert called him a “peace correspondent” as he was apolitical and photographed uplifting subjects.


Édouard Boubat | Portugal, 1950-58

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