Henri Cartier-Bresson



Henri Cartier-Bresson, father of photojournalism, once said he wasn’t interested in photography. He said, “Once the picture is in the box, I’m not all that interested in what happens next. Hunters, after all, aren’t cooks.”

He spent over seventy years taking photographs.


His real interest was the world: the people, the places in which they lived, and their cultures.

A baby smiles as she stands up right in the palm of her father’s hand. Despite the vast lake, the sprawling clouds and the people below all we see- all we focus on -is the baby and her smile:
http://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_MmRVVROy-Jo/TGEvUgGkmTI/AAAAAAAAObQ/kXTuEAeEfNU/s1600/Henri%2BCartier-Bresson%2B%2Barm%C3%A9nie%2B1972.jpg&imgrefurl=http://fantomatik75.blogspot.com/2010/08/decisive-moment-henri-cartier-bresson.html&usg=__1LkfDbZw1Q9lz4e00A3kQwdDy10=&h=406&w=614&sz=44&hl=en&start=0&sig2=4UNrBdbyd3Z9M22VTwiZWA&zoom=1&tbnid=5ITgmkdWUk4QBM:&tbnh=132&tbnw=173&ei=tNCpTcWFJo6isAPXquSsCQ&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dhenri%2Bcartier%2Bbresson%2B1972%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1596%26bih%3D694%26tbm%3Disch&um=1&itbs=1&iact=rc&dur=234&oei=tNCpTcWFJo6isAPXquSsCQ&page=1&ndsp=37&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:0&tx=106&ty=45



Cartier-Bresson describes this as the “decisive moment” –the significance, the act of experiencing as it’s occurring. Capturing the decisive moment is a matter of instinct and patience.

Born in France August 22 in 1908 and eldest of five children in a bourgeois family Henri Cartier-Bresson expressed interest in painting at a young age. As an adult he studied drawing and painting in the atelier of the Cubist Andre Lhote. Unfulfilled with painting Henri turned to Photography. With photography he was able to bring surrealism to the streets.

Early in his career his he photographed France. From there he branched out to the rest the world. Wherever he traveled he seemed to be in the right place at the right moment. He photographed the last moments of China before Mao and the last moments of English India. His last photographs were portraits of writers, graphic artists, painters, and photographers.

Photography was a personal experience for Cartier-Bresson. We saw his perspective–his life through the images and he was sharing it with us.


In all of his images there is a strong connection between architecture and people.

Nine desks. Three bicycles. This photograph is composed so that we look at the desks yet our eyes are drawn towards the men in bicycles whizzing through the frame:
http://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Vlm2emVl1Fc/TVoPxMWq96I/AAAAAAAAEbg/Dowpd9hcY5c/s1600/Cartier%252BBresson%252BPiazza%252Bdella%252BSignoria%252B1933.jpg&imgrefurl=http://jacindarussellart.blogspot.com/2011/02/small-sign-of-spring-and-im-dreaming-of.html&usg=__bfY3DqD04nr9z0lwgrfFyiamZNg=&h=771&w=1115&sz=152&hl=en&start=36&sig2=OvaXRcqNKE03W9VwQFwtqw&zoom=1&tbnid=nQvBak87oL2y5M:&tbnh=125&tbnw=167&ei=KNGpTczeJsTIgQfT0MnzBQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhenri%2Bcartier%2Bbresson%2B1933%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1596%26bih%3D694%26tbm%3Disch&um=1&itbs=1&iact=rc&dur=312&oei=HdGpTet5isCwA8SSvIwJ&page=2&ndsp=36&ved=1t:429,r:19,s:36&tx=161&ty=70

In this photograph our eyes are drawn towards an out of focus buggy and then to the railing:
http://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://www.fotokabinet.nl/page10/files/henri-cartier-bresson-magnum-marseille-1932-horse-vintage.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.fotokabinet.nl/page10/page10.html&usg=__NafbzzyRlagaDYCdqgvWe_KmWOo=&h=148&w=185&sz=7&hl=en&start=42&sig2=lZFw41cRwetypJaY_gUVEA&zoom=1&tbnid=ysWshMf1yfJpRM:&tbnh=117&tbnw=147&ei=atGpTYGpOMzogQeV_uDzBQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhenri%2Bcartier%2Bbresson%2B1932%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1596%26bih%3D694%26tbm%3Disch&um=1&itbs=1&iact=rc&dur=249&oei=YdGpTbtfhKKxA-2N4ZIJ&page=2&ndsp=38&ved=1t:429,r:25,s:42&tx=78&ty=68



In both these photographs there is a presence of people and yet accompanying them there is a feeling of emptiness and isolation. I believe it has a lot to do with the vast space present.

In contrast to these two images:
http://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://images.artnet.com/artwork_images/693/605401t.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.artnet.com/Galleries/Artists_detail.asp%3FG%3D%26gid%3D693%26which%3D%26aid%3D3702%26ViewArtistBy%3Donline%26rta%3Dhttp://www.artnet.com&usg=__iWBjfSuBPURczvnzThSh-qx0MAU=&h=122&w=185&sz=9&hl=en&start=0&sig2=gmg22pFXvQthedzJCMjCEQ&zoom=1&tbnid=V1okQ06eKhgWnM:&tbnh=97&tbnw=148&ei=p9GpTdCINZOasAOKrISXCQ&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dhenri%2Bcartier%2Bbresson%2B1967%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1596%26bih%3D694%26tbm%3Disch&um=1&itbs=1&iact=rc&dur=546&oei=p9GpTdCINZOasAOKrISXCQ&page=1&ndsp=35&ved=1t:429,r:27,s:0&tx=78&ty=66

http://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://www.afterimage.com/bressonprisoner.jpg&imgrefurl=http://annlee.webzero.co.kr/tt/archive/200604%253Fpage%253D2&usg=__zhMiyCMDfs1VjI-9AStP6ByPzAU=&h=778&w=500&sz=90&hl=en&start=0&sig2=VjABgPmTdtXqGqNkzqwV1w&zoom=1&tbnid=1H4QN8X_C6ALFM:&tbnh=132&tbnw=85&ei=9NGpTb7XA4KusAPKp-ikCQ&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dhenri%2Bcartier%2Bbresson%2B1972%2Bprisoner%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1596%26bih%3D694%26tbm%3Disch&um=1&itbs=1&iact=rc&dur=93&oei=9NGpTb7XA4KusAPKp-ikCQ&page=1&ndsp=37&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0&tx=45&ty=86

In the first image: a caged monkey. Attached to his head are tubes. He seems uncomfortable. In the second one: A caged man in a similar pose only flipped.



These four photographs were taken at very different parts of his career. What do you guys think? Would you agree or disagree?
Henri Cartier-Bresson will often use shadows and direct light to create unique compositions.

http://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://lh4.ggpht.com/_cHnXDLjHkfU/S6qU-QJ0ibI/AAAAAAAAfnU/w4E2mKP-hmE/kevin_sharkey_bookfriday_henri_cartier_bresson4.jpg&imgrefurl=http://homedesign.marthastewart.com/2010/03/books-friday-design-of-imperial-delhi-and-photographs-by-henri-cartier-bresson.html&usg=__x-3ICm3fhWoiwlss5zzC5I0D4t8=&h=1091&w=1600&sz=523&hl=en&start=0&sig2=dILsIoO2ZbevG-14L-DmhQ&zoom=1&tbnid=7C0uGL3fHNtiMM:&tbnh=129&tbnw=166&ei=WtOpTaX5MYW-sAOOuICcCQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhenri-cartier%2Bbresson%2Bshadows%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1579%26bih%3D694%26tbm%3Disch&itbs=1&iact=rc&dur=187&oei=WtOpTaX5MYW-sAOOuICcCQ&page=1&ndsp=36&ved=1t:429,r:4,s:0&tx=77&ty=58
This photograph looks almost like a painting. It's well balanced-almost compartmentalized. Again, this photograph required a lot of patience. He waited for the girl to move directly into frame.


During WWII and while France was controlled by France Henri Cartier-Bresson didn’t take a single photograph. After the war Henri Cartier-Bresson focused more on photojournalism. He didn’t want to miss anything. Here is a photograph he took in India.

Four woman look out at a large landscape. In the Bg are mountains and clouds. There is a heavenly quality to this photograph:
http://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/Leica/Leica-M6/M6-Special/M6-HenriCartier-Bresson1998/images/HCB_Magnum_india.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/Leica/Leica-M6/M6-Special/M6-HenriCartier-Bresson1998/index.htm&usg=__vt24syLh8zNBjrneWSFeKBB5UsI=&h=204&w=305&sz=17&hl=en&start=0&sig2=ReGinaq_MaryGHY8sFqurw&zoom=1&tbnid=1TAOlOYDSOl0TM:&tbnh=140&tbnw=187&ei=BNSpTZW_EoSisAPU6IyQCQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhenri-cartier%2Bbresson%2Bindia%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1579%26bih%3D694%26tbm%3Disch&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=545&vpy=228&dur=718&hovh=163&hovw=244&tx=136&ty=88&oei=BNSpTZW_EoSisAPU6IyQCQ&page=1&ndsp=37&ved=1t:429,r:12,s:0


As I metioned ealier Henri Cartier -Bresson took a lot of portraitures. Mainly consisting of Artists. I'm sure they are of people Henri found to be interesting.

One portrait that caught my eye was of Henri Matisse. It's a perfect example of the decisive moment. Matisse is candid and in his element:
http://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://www.dptips-central.com/image-files/henry-cartier-bresson-henri-matisse.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.dptips-central.com/henry-cartier-bresson.html&usg=__aTHchtsxFWmXKaNXj9Dp_mPLTZQ=&h=401&w=600&sz=80&hl=en&start=0&sig2=zcbwzfwB_zt-cbc6YIEmjQ&zoom=1&tbnid=PpkXKerVz1INNM:&tbnh=122&tbnw=158&ei=v9SpTdebB5P2tgPe4MGbCQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhenri-cartier%2Bbresson%2Bmatisse%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1579%26bih%3D694%26tbm%3Disch&itbs=1&iact=rc&dur=312&oei=v9SpTdebB5P2tgPe4MGbCQ&page=1&ndsp=33&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0&tx=85&ty=87

Later when Cartier-Bresson was in his seventies his life came full circle. He started to paint again.