During the 1950s and '60s, street photography was just starting to take foot as an art form, and French photographer René Maltête gave it a push with his candid and humorous scenes.

In 1951, Maltête moved to Paris at the age of 21, and bought a Semflex 6×6 camera 3 years later in hopes of pursuing a serious photography career. His big break, however, came with a series of photos that were slightly less than serious. He became known for his 'stumbled-upon' scenes of street life that teemed with ironic humor, showing how the funniest things that happen in life are often just a matter of good timing.

Though René Maltête sadly passed away in 2000, his work continues to be published and praised. Have a look at some of his best shots below, and don't forget to vote for your favourites.

More info: René Maltête

#1

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

John L
Community Member
4 years ago

Perfect example of 'gene' matching. :D

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#2

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Marc
Community Member
4 years ago

Ariel, is that you?

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#3

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Lemur
Community Member
4 years ago

Took me a second to realize that was a mirror

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#4

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Marc
Community Member
4 years ago

Don't lose your head!

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#5

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Rosya Baby
Community Member
4 years ago

third wheel detected

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#6

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Jeremie Guerra
Community Member
4 years ago

The statue got cold...

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#7

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Fire Bird
Community Member
4 years ago

If he is waiting for the other guy to make his move, that will be quite awhile. Stalemate.

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#8

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Marc
Community Member
4 years ago

I guess she didn't shave those legs for quite some time.

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#9

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Jeremie Guerra
Community Member
4 years ago

"I always wanted to be an astronaut"

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#10

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Marc
Community Member
4 years ago

I guess someone got (a) cold...

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#11

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Lynn Donovan
Community Member
4 years ago (edited)

For those who don't speak french : "7 deadly sins"

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#12

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Lynn Donovan
Community Member
4 years ago (edited)

For those who don't speak French : "You are the majority"

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#13

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Jean Donahue
Community Member
4 years ago

Being a conjoined twin is hard enough when you're both the same sex!!

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#14

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Ironcat_xox
Community Member
4 years ago

Oh god... NIGHTMARES FOR DAYS

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#15

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Deborah Lloyd
Community Member
4 years ago

Missionary position?

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#16

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Natasha L
Community Member
4 years ago

This one is really cool

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#17

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

ADHORTATOR
Community Member
4 years ago

Danger? DANGER?! I show you what I think of danger!

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#18

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Superluminal1
Community Member
4 years ago

An omen.

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#19

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Rene Maltete Report

Mical Joseph
Community Member
4 years ago

Fake picture, WTC wasn't there in the 50s!

Peter Korsten
Community Member
4 years ago

And it wasn't in France. Doesn't mean that it's fake, though, just that it wasn't in France and that it wasn't in the 1950.

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The Cube Cat
Community Member
4 years ago

I don't get it.....

Megan Johnson
Community Member
4 years ago

They are mimicking the elevations of the buildings in the background?

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Ionela Zugravu
Community Member
4 years ago

Ascending like the buildings from the background. 😊

Molly Block
Community Member
4 years ago

So how did he create this photo then? Since the WTC towers were not built until the 70's? This photo must have been taken in the 70's then, in NYC, not France. I guess it's just a photo that got tossed into this mix, since it's one of his..... I didn't get it at first either, until the comment below about how they are ascending like the buildings in the background. I don't like this photo at all and I down-voted it.

ErMerGerd ItBecky
Community Member
4 years ago

Oh my god we really don't care what you thought of the damn photo or whether it was taken forty or seventy years ago. It's a better picture than you'll ever take. Jesus Christ stop being a pedant and enjoy it.

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Julie Julie
Community Member
4 years ago

It's clearly not France and not from the 50s but since he died in 2000 he could have taken this photo. It's not "fake". The title of the article is just not right.

Ann Ros'a
Community Member
4 years ago

Great shot of the Twin Towers... RIP 9/11/01

Ann Ros'a
Community Member
4 years ago

Even though it's not taken in the 50s or France...

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Ostide Calisse
Community Member
4 years ago

The World Trade Center in the 1950s?

Ann Ros'a
Community Member
4 years ago

LOL you're right, we're finished until after 1970...

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Michael Freeman
Community Member
4 years ago

Maybe the compiler made a mistake. Mistakes do happen and are forgivable. The photo was taken in New York as part of a fashion piece.

DeMarie Ingraham
Community Member
4 years ago

Before the fall.

Susan L. Miller
Community Member
4 years ago

MAGRITTE!

Amy Carter
Community Member
4 years ago

Department store ad?

Sharon Vaughn
Community Member
4 years ago

Skyline v. umbrella line.

Don Bok
Community Member
4 years ago

France? I didn't know the Twin Towers of New York were in France!

Ann Ros'a
Community Member
4 years ago

Looks like a French influence on the this shot.

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Karen Drucks
Community Member
4 years ago

Nice shot of the N Y skyline..mimic-ed by the models

Jon Chevalier
Community Member
4 years ago

assorted cubes...

Gretchen Koehler
Community Member
4 years ago

I love it!!!

Spin Clean
Community Member
4 years ago

He's on a ladder

Veronica Niechajczyk
Community Member
4 years ago

the Twin Towers...

Mariya Stoyanova
Community Member
4 years ago

Isn't that New York City, not France??

Joan Camerota
Community Member
4 years ago

Must you bring him into it!

Jeanne Richardson
Community Member
4 years ago

How did the WTC and WFC get transported to 1950's France?

Sergio Bicerra
Community Member
4 years ago

Maybe the atlantic ocean isn't as large as we thought...

Cathy Shift
Community Member
4 years ago

i don't think this is france...

Pietro Creatore
Community Member
4 years ago

wow

Chris Shelley
Community Member
4 years ago

It doesn't have to be from the 70's, the photograph could have been taken earlier

Ann Ros'a
Community Member
4 years ago

No the World Trade Center buildings hadn't finished construction until after 1970... So this wasn't taken in the 50s-- let alone in France!!!

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#20

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Lynn Donovan
Community Member
4 years ago

"Beware of the dog" :)

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#21

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

tatiana gonzales
Community Member
4 years ago

poor windmill... obvious discrimination

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#22

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Evelim C
Community Member
4 years ago

Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dum?

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#23

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Evisa Isabella Rose
Community Member
4 years ago

~Lovebirds~<3

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#24

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Alternathy
Community Member
4 years ago

Take a picture first, help later. Nothing's changed the last few years..

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#25

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

GoodWolf
Community Member
4 years ago

Wait, what?

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#26

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Iskrena Dimitrova
Community Member
4 years ago

Amazing photograph!

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#27

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Fire Bird
Community Member
4 years ago

That one girl is thinking twice about skiing after seeing that guy.

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#28

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Sonja Götten
Community Member
4 years ago

That is what Melons are for...

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#29

Photography By Rene Maltete

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Joan Camerota
Community Member
4 years ago

En garde

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#30

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

George Foster
Community Member
4 years ago

One more step and I shoot !

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#31

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Natasha L
Community Member
4 years ago

I don't think you'll get that ball back...

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#32

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Deborah Lloyd
Community Member
4 years ago

Early lessons about shrinkage....

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#33

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Lua boots
Community Member
4 years ago

I live in Paris and I think this one is my street xD... they are still working on that road >_< Endless works everywhere :) yeah... T_T

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#34

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Jeremie Guerra
Community Member
4 years ago

The arm of the inventor of car blinking lights...

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#35

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

GoodWolf
Community Member
4 years ago

"Your experience may differ"

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#36

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Rene Maltete Report

Molly Block
Community Member
4 years ago

Those pant legs are going to be dirty now.

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#37

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Lynn Donovan
Community Member
4 years ago

"Finish line" :)

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#38

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Spin Clean
Community Member
4 years ago

I was like aw ew aw

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#39

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

John L
Community Member
4 years ago

Nature's modesty to the rescue.

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#40

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Alternathy
Community Member
4 years ago

Just dumping a few holes. Nothing to see here.

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#41

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Lynn Donovan
Community Member
4 years ago

"Prison" and "Open" : )

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#42

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Deborah Lloyd
Community Member
4 years ago

Everything needs support....Even the building

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#43

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Gemala Hapsari
Community Member
4 years ago

picture from Bretagne? (=brittany). Guessing from the lady's traditional hat..?

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#44

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Lynn Donovan
Community Member
4 years ago

The first poster promotes a fair for young people and families. But the boys seem to have grown up :)

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#45

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Lua boots
Community Member
4 years ago

"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" xD

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#46

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Molly Block
Community Member
4 years ago

At least she's not tossing out the chamberpot contents!

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#47

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Alenchery
Community Member
4 years ago

There goes another Christ Impersonator.

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#48

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Lynn Donovan
Community Member
4 years ago (edited)

For those who don't speak French : the text was initially "Cordonnerie" (a shoe repair shop) but the blanket hides the "RDO" and we now read "Connerie" (a screw-up)

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#49

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

| TheArtAddict |
Community Member
4 years ago

Anyone else looking at the fallen eyelash?

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#50

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

George Foster
Community Member
4 years ago

Go ahead, you can make it !!!

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#51

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Lua boots
Community Member
4 years ago

Nobody leaves its handbag alone like this anymore in Paris :( ... I want to return to the past

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#52

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Madelene Amendola
Community Member
4 years ago

Now there's a good safe place to hang wet laundry!

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#53

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

icarus feelsgood
Community Member
4 years ago

you know, those same shoes are in style now

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#54

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Ophelia Vandergurgleduffen
Community Member
4 years ago

The first hybrid.

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#55

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Rene Maltete Report

Stefano Aprea
Community Member
4 years ago

This is a self-portrait of Rene Maltet, author of all these photos. Here in old age rene-58df9...5d2608.jpg rene-58df9dc5d2608.jpg

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#56

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

GoodWolf
Community Member
4 years ago

I think he's down there for the view

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#57

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Lynn Donovan
Community Member
4 years ago (edited)

For those who don't speak French : "Great fire in..."

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#58

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Ostide Calisse
Community Member
4 years ago

The guy shoveling cement looks like Robert Lepage: LEPAGE_Rob...reault.jpg LEPAGE_Robert@JuliePerreault.jpg

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#59

French-street-photography-rene-maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Molly Block
Community Member
4 years ago

Look at those gaps in the brickwork on the road. A woman in heels could NEVER walk on that.

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#60

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report

Deborah Lloyd
Community Member
4 years ago

Looks like Alfred Hitchcock.....

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#61

Photography By Rene Maltete

Rene Maltete Report