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Born in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) in 1908, René Giton was 16 years old when he settled in Paris with his family. Soon after completing his law studies in 1930, he decided to become a professional photographer under the name of René-Jacques. He specialized in the illustration of literary works but, as the income was not sufficient, he soon started working on advertising or corporate assignments and film set photography. In 1938, he published "Envoûtement de Paris" in collaboration with novelist and poet Francis Carco. At the same time, he produced documentary photo reports for magazines (Plaisir de France, Harper’s Bazaar…) and books such as the "Dictionnaire pittoresque de la France". In 1941, he participated in the activities of the Rectangle group, an association of photographers founded by Emmanuel Sougez in the mid-1930s and later joined another group, the “Groupe des XV” with Marcel Bovis, Pierre Jahan, Daniel Masclet… A successful, well published and exhibited professional, he was also an active member of his business community and founded the French association of advertising photographers in 1966. He retired in 1975 and died in Paris in 2003. In the 1980s, the Paris Historical Library (Bibliothèque Historique) acquired over 3,000 of his photographs of Paris and the region, now distributed by Roger-Viollet on an exclusive basis.

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