Henri Cartier-Bresson – Photographer
This book offers an outstanding retrospective collection of the master of 20th-century photography, Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Reproduced in exquisite black and white, the images in this book range from Henri Cartier-Bresson’s earliest work in France, Spain, and Mexico through his postwar travels in Asia, the US, and Russia, and even include landscapes from the 1970s, when he retired his camera to pursue drawing. While his instinct for capturing what he called the decisive moments was unparalleled, as a photojournalist Cartier-Bresson was uniquely concerned with the human impact of historic events. In his photographs of the liberation of France from the Nazis, the death of Gandhi, and the creation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Cartier-Bresson focused on the reactions of the crowds rather than the subjects of the events. And while his portraits of Sartre, Giacometti, Faulkner, Capote, and other artists are iconic, he gave equal attention to those forgotten by history: a dead resistance fighter lying on the bank of the Rhine, children playing alongside the Berlin Wall, and a eunuch in Peking’s Imperial Court.
Divided into six thematic sections, the book presents the photographs in spare doublepage spreads. In a handwritten note included at the end of the book, Cartier-Bresson writes, »In order to give meaning to the world, one must feel involved in what one singles out through the viewfinder.« His work shows how he has been able to capture the decisive moment with such extreme humility and profound humanity.
Henri Cartier-Bresson, born in 1908, began his career by studying painting before discovering photography in the early 1930s. In 1947 he founded the legendary cooperative agency Magnum Photos together with Robert Capa, David Seymour, William Vandivert and George Rodger. Cartier-Bresson left Magnum Photos in 1974 to devote himself to drawing and painting until his death in 2004. He is still considered one of the most important photographers of the twentieth century.
Yves Bonnefoy was an art historian and is considered one of the most important French poets of the late 20th century.