TBT – Kiss at City Hall

Circa 1990 we color separated this photo at my shop Mirror Image, one of the most famous photographs ever taken. It was for the publisher Fotofolio and it had to be approved by Robert Doisneau himself.  We separated and printed this job 16 times until we were satisfied with the result and when the sample shirt arrived in France, Monsieur Doisneau approved it immediately.

At that time screenprinted shirts of photographs were usually printed with one halftone screen, usually with miserably bad results. We printed this with three grey screens and two black screens, with particularly a hard time getting the three quarter tones correct. Honestly, we were not really working to make money on this, it was a furious passion for work. We had “professionals” help us make separations and our dissatisfaction and our inability to have anyone understand what we were talking about led us on our own path. For years afterwards we built on what we learned from this process and convinced artists to do t-shirts that never had considered it before (too crude) and we won just about every award in the industry for photographic type reproduction.

Interestingly most posters or other forms of this image are more cropped than this full photo.

Also interestingly several couples claimed to be the subjects, but it was revealed in the end that Doisneau staged the photo with actors. Also interesting is that it is called “Baiser at L’Hotel de Ville” and it is translated as “kiss at the Hotel de Ville” but in fact “Hotel de Ville” means City Hall.

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