The name René Maltête is meaningless to most of us, since we don’t often look behind the camera, but he literally altered the way photography was handled, changing the game for good and all. He grew up in the 30’s and 40’s, when most pictures were taken of staid men in severe suits looking sorely unhappy as they stared into the lens of these photographic contraptions, trying not to blur the resultant images. Photos of the era were commonly staged, with little humanity. They were largely glamour shots or grim photos taken for utility. There wasn’t much personality to them, and they certainly weren’t funny. Then came the work of René.
As time progressed and more people could get access to cameras, the technology also became more mobile and less difficult to take out into the world, where life could be more aptly captured outside of staged shoots. Candid photography began to take off, and Maltête decided he wanted to show the hilarity of the human condition, so he made street photos that were odd, quirky, and often gut-busting. Meme-makers of today and those who devise “When You See It…” lists have nothing on the masterwork of this light-bending genius.