So with my MacBook out of commission I will make the most out of what I do have. And I have my wife’s PC, it may not be ideal but we will make it work. With the fact that I cannot retrieve my photographs I will highlight one of my favorite photographers and showcase his work.
Henri Cartier-Bresson famous for his image of the man leaping across the puddle called The Decisive Moment. Henri was skilled at photographing the moment when the image was transformed from a photograph to telling a story with meaning, emotion, and sometimes great humor. Henri had the ability to make a seemliness insignificant staircase give direction to a biker whooshing by.
Starting out as a painter, Bresson trained under André Lhote for some time. However, after a number of years he turned to photography in 1930 after seeing an image by the photographer Martin Munkácsi. This Hungarian photographer captured the youthfulness in three young African boys running in the Lake Tanganyika, a lake sandwiched between the boarder of Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The image conjured up a new love for photography and his new fascination with the medium would become a great deal of his life’s work. Having a background in painting seemed to have a great deal of influence on his photography, helping him with his fantastic composition giving the image great balance. Nonetheless, there were a few photographers that Henri claimed to have an influence on his work André Kertész, Umbo, and of course Martin Munkácsi.
Henri-Cartier’s work was such a rapid success that by the mid 1930’s his work was already being exhibited in Mexico, New York and Madrid. While in New York, Henri met the “straight” photographer, Paul Strand. At this time, Strand was into cinematography, Bresson decided to jump in the intriguing art with Paul Stand and help him with his filming. Later in France, he assisted Jean Reoir but still his love for photography stayed strong.
In 1943, following German invasions, Henri saw fit to join the Fench Army, unfortunately soon after he found himself as a prisoner of war. In 1943 following two failed attempts to escape, he finally did and returned to his passion of photography and filming. In the spring of 1947, Henri along with Robert Capa, David Seymour, William Vandivert and George Rodger founded “Magnum Photos.” An organization devoted to documenting events in the world to gain a better understanding and respect. Cartier-Bresson summed it up when he said “Magnum is a community of thought, a shared human quality, a curiosity about what is going on in the world, a respect for what is going on and a desire to transcribe it visually.” Due to these 5 founders that have laid the ground work for Magnum Photos there are now over a million photographers and 500,000 images with rising numbers every day.
In 1948, Henri’s photographs were featured in Life Magazine. In this issue it featured Henri’s photographs of the man that was an advocate for peace and nonviolence in India, Mahatma Gandhi. However, in 1948 Gandhi was killed after four attempts on his life. Due to the circumstances of the murder of Mahatma; the issue featuring his photographs became all the more popular and becoming one of the most sought after photo issues of Life.
Later in 1952, Henri published a book called The Decisive Moment within this book is 126 images that tell stories through Henri Cartier-Bresson’s lens. After such a successful photographic career Henri sat aside the camera for a pencil and paintbrush in 1966. In his 36 years of photography he made many contributions to not only Life but Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar to name a few. In 2003, one year before his death, Henri’s wife and daughter gathered up his work and put it in a foundation in Paris to preserve these time capsules that Henri had captured. However, after almost 96 years of life, Henri passed away leaving his legacy behind.
Here is a documentary on Henri-Cartier Bresson “Just Plain Love“