Tuesday, September 6, 2011

THE ACKNOWLEDGED MASTER OF THE MOMENT




Henri Cartier-Bresson
From inmotionimports.ca


For Henri Cartier-Bresson, human life is a precarious balancing act between two worlds: the one inside us and the one outside. And his photographs, he says, are instant drawings of that act, no more, no less. Which is why, all these years later, his work still bursts with a vitality and visual honesty that are so lacking in today's mannered style. (Liz Jobey at guardian.co.uk)
“Rarely has the phrase “man of the world” been more aptly applied than to the protean photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, the subject of a handsome and large — though surely not anywhere near large enough — retrospective appearing at the Museum of Modern Art. For much of his long career as a photojournalist Cartier-Bresson was compulsively on the move. By plane, train, bus, car, bicycle, rickshaw, horse and on foot, he covered the better part of five continents in a tangled, crisscrossing itinerary of arcs and dashes. In addition to being exhaustively mobile, he was widely connected. Good-looking, urbane, the rebellious child of French haute bourgeois privilege, he networked effortlessly, and had ready access to, and friendships with, the political and culture beau monde of his time. “ - Holland Cotter, the New York Times critic.
Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908 – 2004) was born in Chanteloupe, France, of prosperous middle-class parents. He owned a Box Brownie as a boy, using it for taking holiday snapshots, and later experimented with a 3 X 4 view camera. But he was also interested in painting and studied for two years in a Paris studio. This early training in art helped develop the subtle and sensitive eye for composition, which was one of his greatest assets as a photographer. In 1931, at the age of 22, Cartier-Bresson spent a year as a hunter in the West African bush. Catching a case of backwater fever, he returned to France to convalesce. It was at this time, in Marseille, that he first truly discovered photography. He obtained a Leica and began snapping a few pictures with it. It was a pivotal experience. A new world, a new kind of seeing, spontaneous and unpredictable, opened up to him through the narrow rectangle of the 35 mm viewfinder. His imagination caught fire. He recalls how he excitedly “prowled the streets all day, feeling very strung-up and ready to pounce, determined to ‘trap’ life, to preserve life in the act of living.” Thus began one of the most fruitful collaborations between man and machine in the history of photography. He remained devoted to the 35 mm camera throughout his career. The speed, mobility, the large number of exposures per loading, and, above all, the unobtrusiveness of the little camera perfectly fitted his shy, quicksilver personality. Before long he was handling its controls as automatically as an expert racing driver shifts gears. The camera itself, in his own famous phrase, became an “extension of the eye”.
(cosmicaudrey.wordpress.com)


Steerage
From louismrivera.files.wordpress.com


Screen Shot
From stadtlanderloft.com


His inventive work of the early 1930s helped define the creative potential of modern photography, and his uncanny ability to capture life on the run made his work synonymous with “the decisive moment”—the title of his first major book. After World War II (most of which he spent as a prisoner of war) and his first museum show (at MoMA in 1947), he joined Robert Capa and others in founding the Magnum photo agency, which enabled photojournalists to reach a broad audience through magazines such as Life while retaining control over their work. In the decade following the war, Cartier-Bresson produced major bodies of photographic reportage on India and Indonesia at the time of independence, China during the revolution, the Soviet Union after Stalin’s death, the United States during the postwar boom, and Europe as its old cultures confronted modern realities. For more than twenty-five years, he was the keenest observer of the global theater of human affairs—and one of the great portraitists of the twentieth century.
(taryncoxthewife.com) '


Rouen, France
From pablomoliterno.com.ar


Brussels 1932
From dailyartfixx.com)


Moscow, Gymnasts Artist
From art.1stdibs.com


Mexico 1934
From difresh.bg


Pavement School Jaipur 1948
From holdingouthopechurch.com


In Sharkey Bookfriday
From puroalice.com


The Great Leap Forward, China
From school-portal.co.uk


Forward China
From invisiblephotographer.asia


Henri Cartier-Bresson
From difresh.bg


Cartier-Bresson traveled the world photographing “the times” in Russia, China, Cuba, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Turkey, Europe, and the United States. He photographed events such as the funeral of Gandhi, the fall of Beijing, and the liberation of Paris. Cartier-Bresson’s main body of work however was of human activities and the institutions of society. In every country, he sought out market places, weddings, funerals, people at work, children in parks, adults in their leisure time, and other every-day activities. During the Battle of France, in June 1940 Cartier-Bresson was captured by German soldiers and spent 35 months in prisoner-of-war camps doing forced labor under the Nazis. He escaped in 1943 and began working for MNPGD, a secret organization that aided prisoners and escapees. At the end of the war, Cartier-Bresson directed “Le Retour” (The Return), a documentary on the repatriation of prisoners of war and detainees.
(dailyartfixx.com)


Dessau, Germany, April 1945
From ysvoice.tumblr.com


Truman Capote
From art.1stdibs.com


Jean-Paul Sartre 1946
From notasjudiciosas.files.wordpress.com


In 1947, along with Robert Capa, David Seymour, William Vandivert, and George Rodger, Cartier-Bresson founded the co-operative agency “Magnum Photos”. The aim of Magnum was to allow photographers to “work outside the formulas of magazine journalism”. In 1952, Cartier-Bresson published a book of his photographs entitled” Images à la sauvette” (images on the run), with the English title “The Decisive Moment”. In the 1960′s he created 16 portraiture stories entitled “A Touch of Greatness” for the the London magazine “The Queen”. The stories profiled personalities such as Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Miller, Robert Kennedy and others.
(dailyartfixx.com)


Greenfield, Indiana 1960
From allartnews.com


Tent City near Somerville, TN 1961
From herecomespinkslip.wordpress.com


In 1968, Cartier-Bresson left Magnum Photos and photography in general, focusing once again on drawing and painting. He retired from photography completely by 1975 and had his first exhibition of his drawings at the Carlton Gallery in New York in 1975.
(dailyartfixx.com)


VENICE—Ezra Pound
From ricecracker.net


From 1975 on, Cartier-Bresson continued to focus on drawing. In 1982 he was awarded the Grand Prix National de la Photographie in Paris, and in 1986, the Novecento Prize in Palermo, Italy. In 1988, the Museum of Modern Art in New York held an exhibition of his photographs – “Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Early Work”. In 2003, Cartier-Bresson, along with his wife Martine Franck and their daughter Mélanie, launched the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, to provide a permanent home for his collected works and as an exhibition space for other artists. Cartier-Bresson died peacefully on August 3rd 2004 in Montjustin, Provence. He was buried in the cemetery of Montjustin, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France. (dailyartfixx.com)
Some criticized his quick-taking "decisive moment" style as "snaps". But the unique sensibility his photographs, often black and white, has been compared by admirers to being as distinctive as the style of great cinema director. Some have compared his images as having the "complex presence of Cézanne or Rembrandt". He had a legendary anthropological eye, looking to capture human emotion. When he covered the 1937 coronation of George VI in London he photographed the crowd not the procession.
(Mark Oliver at guardian.co.uk)
We think of Cartier-Bresson principally as a great chronicler of the streets, but he was also a wonderful portraitist. He didn't produce strong headshots as Karsh did; he produced room-sets with people. His photographs are perfect, but they can also feel cold and controlled. They don't have the heart-on-their-sleeve humanity of, say, Robert Doisneau. They are perfectly formed and highly atmospheric; they have an element of mystery. There is a feeling that the picture is part of a story, like a single still from a film, and they leave you wanting to know more.
(Eamonn McCabe at guardian.co.uk)
How many photographs, how many images pass before our eyes each day? What is astonishing is not so much how many of these images we forget, so much as how many we remember. And our hunger for images - a hunger to see, to look - appears to be insatiable. How is it, feasting every day on so many images, that we distinguish between those things we have seen for ourselves, with our own eyes, and those which come to us already caught in the shutter, instant memories already fixed for us on the paper? Perhaps we can no longer distinguish with any certainty what we know for ourselves and what we have been told and shown. Many of Cartier-Bresson's photographs have already become one with our memories, and have affected how we look and what we recognise. His photographs continue to haunt us. This, rather than style, is his true legacy.
(Adrian Searle at guardian.co.uk)


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