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Henri Cartier-Bresson

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 07:15 AM
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Henri Cartier-Bresson has been called "equivocal, ambivalent and accidental"1 since his debut as a photojournalist. Amplified and enriched, the work of the photographer is revealed in all its grandeur. While he may appear to "be a hurried man or a traveler without luggage"2, to quote a few of his titles, he is a poet, attentive to the act of love made with each photograph, and this is where the genius is revealed. From a desired distance, we discover simultaneously the geographer, who analyses the permanence or vulnerability of cultures; the ethnographer, who captures gestures of work and rituals of religion; the anthropologist, who reflects the spectrum of emotions; and the sociologist, who reveals the development of destinies and histories.3 Cartier-Bresson's dependence and uncompromising view of photography; to rely solely on the moment in time, is why he will always be remembered.




Born in 1908, Cartier-Bresson studied painting with Andre Lhote in Paris, then painting and literature at Cambridge University in 1928 and developed a serious interest in photography in 1931. His work was first exhibited at the Julien Levy Gallery, New York, and first published in Vu magazine in 1932. He has been involved in numerous films, such as La Vie est a nous (1936), Le Regle du jeu (1939), his documentary film on the hospitals of Republican Spain in 1937 and his film on the liberation of the concentration camps with Richard Banks called Le Retour (1945). His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1946, and in 1947 he became co-founder of The Magnum photographic agency. He has published over a dozen books and has had his photographs printed in hundreds of magazines.




Cartier-Bresson traveled the world so that he may document and present to others the human condition. His photographs transcend any particular time or place. Instead, they capture the very essence of life, be it Harlem, Madrid, Shanghai or the Paris rue...

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