Cyclo-cross in Gentilly by Robert Doisneau (1947)

The photograph titled “Cyclo-cross in Gentilly” by Robert Doisneau was taken in the year 1947. It depicts a cyclo-cross event, a type of bicycle race consisting of many laps that typically takes place on a mixed-terrain circuit.

In this black-and-white photo, we observe an energetic outdoor scene where a crowd of spectators gathers on a hillside to watch the cyclo-cross race. The viewers are standing or sitting along the contour lines of the hill, which creates a natural amphitheater effect. It is a cloudy day, and the silhouettes of buildings can be faintly seen in the background through the mist. Many of the spectators are dressed in the attire of the time, suggesting a chilly weather setting, typical of cyclo-cross season. At the base of the hill, the cyclists and their bicycles can be seen—some are in motion while others are on foot, likely navigating difficult parts of the course. The composition captures the challenging slope of the terrain and the enthusiasm of the spectators, thus encapsulating the spirit of the event in a seemingly candid moment.

Other Photographs from Robert Doisneau

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