Henri Cartier Bresson

Henri Bresson the French photographer considered to be the father of photojournalism, was the master of candid photography and an early user of 35 mm film. Henri was well know for street photography that features the human condition within public places and does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment. The subject of the photograph might be absent of people and can be an object or environment where the image projects a decidedly human. As this went on he came up with a term called ‘The Decisive Moment’ that has inspired generations of photographers ever since.

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He became inspired by a 1930 photograph by Hungarian photojournalist Martin Munkacsi showing three naked young african boys, caught in near-silhouette, running into the surf of Lake Tanganyika. The image is titled Three boys at lake Anganyika. The image captured the freedom, grace and spontaneity of the children’s movement and their joy at being alive. After seeing this image, Henri started photographing street photography, capturing moments as they happen in front of him. Henri decided to give up studying art and started to take photography more seriously. He quoted ‘I prowled the streets all day, feeling very strung-up and ready to pounce, ready to ‘trap’ life’.

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Henri Bresson later on met a Hungarian photographer named Endré Friedmann, whose name changed to Robert Capa. The two shared a studio in the 1930s and Robert mentored Cartier from there on. Robert told him‘Don’t keep the label of a surrealist photographer. Be a photojournalist. If not you will fall into mannerism. Keep surrealism in your little heart, my dear. Don’t fidget. Get moving!’. Because of inspirational influences such as Robert Capa, Henri felt compelled to go out into the street to pursue his passion, photographing people as they move around.

In 1952 Henri published his book ‘Images à la sauvette’, who’s english edition is titled ‘The Decisive Moment’. It includes a portfolio of 126 of his photos from the East and the West. As Cartier continued documenting the lives of people he said a famous quote that he lived by as he continued learning from it, he said, “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression”. From this quote we as the audience can understand why the images from his Title ‘The decisive moment’ are so intimate’. The way in which Henri photographed was definitely him being true to the moments he encountered, as the people who influenced him told him ‘Don’t keep labels, be a photo journalist’, which means from a young age he was taught to photograph freely, not to stage moments but to simply capture them.


References-

Website: http://www.biography.com/people/henri-cartier-bresson-9240139 viewed 20/11/14.

Website: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/fb39e1e8-93c8-11e3-a0e1-00144feab7de.html#axzz3JZHUyfUU viewed 20/11/14

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyhMqDfmG9o viewed 20/11/14

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