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.

  Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 16.28.18

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’.

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 16.21.26

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 16.21.41

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.


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


Martha Cooper

Martha Cooper is a documentary street photographer and photojournalist from New York City. She has been photographing teenagers mostly as they rebel against adults, graffiting the streets, sex, violence, rock and roll, young love etc since the 1970s and 80s. She has documented hip hop culture since the 1980s. She is the author of books such as Subway Art, New York State of Mind, Hip Hop Files, We B Girlz and Street Play.

One of Martha’s books that I looked at ‘Tag Town’ is a book of photos when Martha back in the 80s, shot New York Cities infant tagging graffiti scene back when there were just a hand full of people out there doing it. This was the absolute beginning of what you call street art today and Martha recorded it. She would sit for hours waiting for one train to pass after getting a call from a writer letting her know it was coming. Martha did this out of curiousness, pure interest and love. She thought this was a movement of the minute. She had no idea that her lens was capturing the very beginning of one the greatest art movements of our time. I love how Martha invades peoples personal space when she goes out into the street, she stops to connect with anyone that’s out doing mischief, I like the rawness and honesty about this. Exposing the rebel things that people do by photographing it, Is what gave outsiders a reason to question Martha ‘Why is she doing this?’, but it is simply to document humanity’s sinful nature, the realism about the realm that we are living in.

Throughout Martha’s career of photographing graffiti and the streets, she one day came across someone called Edwin. He made her aware of the graffiti that was around many areas in New York at that time. Edwin helped to explain to her that Graffiti is an art form and that each artist was actually writing his or her nickname. Edwin then went on to introduce Martha to some well know talented graffiti artists; this is when Martha met someone called Dondi. Dondi was the first person that allowed her to accompany him. While he was doing graffiti on walls she would take photos of his art. After this Martha ended up putting a book together of photographs illustrating the graffiti subculture called ‘Subway Art’.

Looking at Martha’s images, I see some are staged and others she has just taken within the moment. I have added both these strategies towards my documentary shoots, some being real to the moment, and other times getting someone to for eg go on their skateboard so I can document their social life. Either way I am still showing what people are doing to make up their day. Documentary is fun and it can be experimented with in many ways. It doesn’t always have to be captured within the moment, sometimes you can change a little here or there, the image is still being taken whilst the person continues doing what they were doing.


Website: http://www.oldskull.net/2009/03/martha-cooper/ viewed 28/11/14

Website: http://www.doobybrain.com/2010/06/14/martha-cooper-talks-about-graffiti-tags/ viewed 28/11/14

Website: http://prettycoolpeopleinterviews.submarinechannel.nl/martha-cooper/ viewed 28/11/4

Website: http://hyperallergic.com/102/martha-cooper-tagtown-goingpostal/ viewed 28/11/14

Book: Martha Cooper.Dokument forlag,1 edition (5 Feb 2009).Tag Town.


A great journalist cares about people and the ideal world. A great journalist can approach a topic as vast as the universe and make it simple and interesting to even a child with little understanding. I have studied Journalist reviews and came to realise that writing on paper word has power. With skill, reporters can expose the dark deeds of the world and bring them into the light.

Photojournalism destroys almost all barriers. Justice can draw its sword in the time it takes an eye to scan an image. An image has no age, language or intelligence limits. A journalist tells stories. A photographer takes pictures of nouns (people, places and things). A photojournalist takes the best of both and locks it into the most powerful medium available which are frozen images. Photojournalists capture “verbs.” Although photojournalists can take properly exposed and well composed photographs all day long, they hunt verbs. A photojournalist has thousands of pairs of eyes looking over his shoulder constantly. The readers are insistent: “What are they doing?” “What did you see?” and “What happened?”.Peoples eyes want to know what they missed.

A photojournalist is a visual reporter of facts. The public places trust in its reporters to tell the truth. The same trust is extended to photojournalists as visual reporters. This responsibility is paramount to a photojournalist. At all times, we have many thousands of people seeing through our eyes and expecting to see the truth. Most people immediately understand an image.

In today’s world of grocery store tabloids and digital manipulation of images, the photojournalist must still tell the truth. The photojournalist constantly hunts for the images of verbs , which tell of the day to day struggles and accomplishments of its community. These occurrences happen naturally. There is no need to set up reality. There is no need to lie to a community that bestows its trust. In a nutshell: If a photojournalist isn’t going to fake a fire or a street stabbing scene, why would he set up ‘person A’ giving ‘person B’ an object (award, check, trophy etc.) The photojournalist simply wants to hang around, be forgotten and wait for the right moment to capture it.

Like the police officer or firefighter, the photojournalist’s concern is his community even if that means sacrificing comfort or life. Many photojournalists die every year in the process of collecting visual information, which lets the public know of atrocities, dangers and the mundane.