The People in the Photographs

Recently there was an article that tracked down the modern day whereabouts of some of photgrapher Diane Arbus’ more familiar subjects, such as this young fellow and this happy duo.

Has anyone tried to track down other famous subjects, such as Cartier-Bresson’s young wine connossieur, or this puddle jumper? Do we know whatever happened to this woman and her family? Does anyone know who Robert Frank’s baby and nanny were? And did they all have to sign releases? Did Cartier-Bresson have to say, “Excuse me sir! Yes, you, the guy who just leaped over that puddle…I just took your photo. Can you sign this please?”

I’d be interested in anything of this ilk.

A fascinating question. And I wish I had a few answers. I did hear there was some information about Lange’s Migrant Mother.

As for the rest…no, even nowadays you don’t have to get a release for taking someones picture in a public place. Particualrly when they are unidendifiable. Would be very strange to recognize yourself in that picture though, wouldn’t it? And I’m dying to know who the kid with the hand grenades grew up to be.

Though for Arbus’ twins, I’m betting there’s some information. As that was posed. And I have to wonder about the pictures at the mental hospital…no way would you be able to get away with that now.

The one I remember is the photograph of the anonymous young Afghan woman with the piercing green eyes that graced the cover of National Geographic magazine in 1985.

They actually tracked her down and found her 17 years later.

“Afghan Girl”

I think that the little Vietnamese girl running naked down the street in that famous photo has recently been tracked down.

I repeat, I think I just saw something on this…but I can’t be sure.

There was a book written about her, called The Girl in the Picture, by Denise Chong. It came about three or four years ago, IIRC.

There was a story about covered in an episode of This American Life. It’s called “From a Distance” and aired 4/19/96 (episode 20). A woman sees this guy’s picture, so she decides to try to find him. I don’t remember exactly what happens. Here’s the write-up from the website:

Here’s Wikipedia’s page on her:

Kim Phuc Phan Thi


The Kim Foundation

Thank you Baggins111, for the link about the Afghan Girl. I always wondered what happened to her.

This is an interesting thread. The link to the fella jumping over the puddle didn’t work for me. I backspaced to get to that directory and found they didn’t have an index protector on it, so links to all the pictures showed up. I clicked on the cartier-bresson_paris.jpg, it worked. It seems like the same URL. Confusing. Could there be a setting where people can’t even look at a photo/page? If it’s not to be linked to for security or bandwidth purposes, it sure is silly that they don’t have their index protection on.

In case someone doesn’t know what I’m talking about, if a directory doesn’t have an index.html file, and index protection (not sure of the exact name) is off, when you go to that URL, a list of the files in that directory appears. Until they fix it, his site is a prime example. Index of /photo He has all his photos in a directory called photo, but no index.html file in that directory. I love finding sites like that. It’s nosy, but you can see everything they have in that directory. Sometimes it’s stuff that they don’t want you to see!

(/hijack and /Gladys Kravitz)

The identity of the couple in Robert Doisneua’s 1950 “Le Baiser de l’Hôtel de Ville” is no longer a secret. The lady is Françoise Bornet now a 75 yr old Parisienne; the man her boyfriend of the time Jacques Carteaud, he went on to have a vineyard in the Vaucluse area of France. The photographer met the couple a few days earlier and asked them to pose for him, her quote is (my translation) “The picture was posed but the kiss was real”.

In the early nineties a couple from the suburbs of Paris claimed that Doisneau had snapped them without their permission and demanded compensation / damages etc. They lost the case partly because it was at this point that Mm. Bornet came forward, despite the photographer’s support it was ruled that she could not actually be identified in the photo and so was unable to profit from the photo’s fame.

(I had vague memories so did a quick google search and found this article in French from which I’ve taken the information.)


Do you have a link to the article on the Arbus subjects? I know the twins are in NJ - they’ve covered them extensively in the local papers recently…but I’d love to know about the grenade kid. lol

The picture that’s always mesmerized and horrified me was this one of the Damm Family -

I know the family received donations after the photo series appeared, but there were allegations of child abuse by the “father” figure and I always hoped that beautiful sad-eyed girl was able to escape that hellhole.


Some years ago, before the couple themselves were identified, I read an article about the bloke in the background with the beret. Despite iconically looking the part of a Parisian passerby, he was actually a visiting Irishman.

VCNJ: I read it in the Star-Tribune a few weeks ago but have been unable to find it online anywhere. The “grenade kid” is actually a nice, normal, well-adjusted fellow living in Seattle I think. His only regret was the ribbing he got in college when he would show people the photo.

Here is a better link for Cartier-Bresson’s “puddle picture”, Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare (1932).

Found it! Here’s the original Arbus article from the Washington Post.

Interesting to note at least one of Arbus’ subjects is on TV everyday.

I really wonder where the baby with nanny picture was taken, and when. It easily could have been me and Mary in Montgomery, AL about 1962 or so.

The V-J Day Kiss is the first one I thought of.

Apparently its a little hard to prove who it was, and there are several folks who claim to be them. Interesting article.

What is really fascinating about Doisneau’s photo is that all that Ms. Bornet supposedly received as compensation for her picture was a signed copy of the original print from Doisneau. She had sued Doisneau and his agency for $16,500 + a percentage of the royalties but lost her suit. She never received any royalties or anything but just recently she put the print up for sale and received $202,000. This is reported to be the highest price ever paid for a 20th century photograph and it exceeded by a factor of ten the auctioners estimate of the selling price.