Henri Cartier-Bresson Dies at 95-Another Great One Passes

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by George Kerby, Aug 4, 2004.

  1. George Kerby

    George Kerby Guest

    I noticed this in today's Online Wall Street Journal
    Doubtful the majority of the current crop posting here do not know of this
    great photographer. Sad.
    It's gotten so bad in here that I hardly ever bother anymore. But for those
    who might care, here it is:

    * * *

    Henri Cartier-Bresson Dies at 95
    The incomparable Henri Cartier-Bresson, who made a profound mark in the
    world of photography with his literate approach to capturing the "decisive
    moment," has died in France at the age of 95. Trained early on as a painter,
    Mr. Cartier-Bresson's passion for photography was awakened when, at the age
    of 22, he obtained his first 35mm Leica and began "prowl[ing] the streets
    all day, feeling very strung-up and ready to pounce, determined to trap
    life, to preserve life in the act of living." Throughout those early days
    Mr. Cartier-Bresson molded his distinctive style, and many critics have
    pointed to his 1932 "Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare,'' which depicts a man
    leaping over a puddle, frozen in midair, as his quintessential piece. After
    serving with the French Army in World War II (he was captured and imprisoned
    by the Nazis for nearly three years but would eventually escape), he
    co-founded the Magnum Picture Agency, traveling the world as a
    photojournalist. His legend grew steadily, with his images appearing in
    countless magazines including Harper's Bazaar, Life, and Vogue. He was the
    first photographer to have a dedicated exhibit in the Louvre. And whether
    embracing Mr. Cartier-Bresson's work or defining themselves against it,
    generations of photographers, from Diane Arbus to Walker Evans to Andreas
    Gursky, would come to struggle fruitfully with his enduring influence.
    George Kerby, Aug 4, 2004
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  2. George Kerby

    dwight Guest

    http://www.afterimagegallery.com/bresson.htm for a little taste.

    dwight, Aug 5, 2004
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  3. George Kerby

    david smith Guest

    THE best photographer that ever lived

    He inspired and influenced my work more than anyone.
    david smith, Aug 5, 2004
  4. Oh ... I do think most of us know about Cartier-Bresson. Brilliant
    photographer. Very simple pictures using very simple equipment,
    a Leica with 50 mm lens I think. Among those pictures, I like the
    man jumping over the water the best. He will hit the water in 20 ms.
    Not only that - the composition is also extremely nice. He is just
    the right distance from the edge of the picture - moving out.
    Extremely good feel for motion. The picknick on the banks of Marnes
    is a classic one - and the two strange gentlemens that are peeking
    through the canvas - what are they doing? Sports? Circus? Constructions?
    Ladies swimming area? An absurd picture! Food for your imagination.
    Whining are we? Hardly becoming you know :)
    Yes - we do care. The world (and this forum) is a better place
    than you think.

    He became 95 years ... hmm ... a respectable age.

    Roland Karlsson, Aug 5, 2004
  5. George Kerby

    Steve Hix Guest

    I thought he'd passed on 25 years ago.

    Still look through a couple collections of his work here in my library.
    Steve Hix, Aug 5, 2004
  6. George Kerby

    Boris Harss Guest


    That guy mostly used one single focal lenghts (50mm) and one camera
    body. Goes to show what you really need, and how much of the quality of
    the result is behind the viewfinder and how much is high-tech stuff.

    Boris Harss, Aug 5, 2004
  7. George Kerby

    Anonymous Guest

    Well put, Boris.

    I thought, however, that he mostly used a 35mm lens on his Leica?
    Anonymous, Aug 6, 2004
  8. If anybody in this world has ever understood what photography is, it was
    him. I saw a short film showing him "in action": he moved very very
    fast pushing his way aggressively amongst the crowd, yet as discretely
    as possible at the same time, like a beast of pray. His Leica was held
    like a hidden small handgun. He would release the shutter even quicker,
    hardly looking through the camera's viewfinder (believe it or not), and
    disappeared from the scene before anybody would have noticed him, as if
    nothing happened. Literally, a matter of seconds. I don't think he has
    ever used a tripod in his entire long career, which stretched over many
    decades. Perhaps this is why a French photo magazine is called
    "Chasseur d'images" (of course, image chaser, or hunter of images). His
    pictures are immortal. Yet he also committed a "crime" against
    photography (I am joking, of course): the success of 35mm cameras (in
    particular Leica) is almost entirely due to him. He thus relegated the
    medium format to the pros and commercial photographers, a major loss
    for people who cannot rely on their photographic genius to compensate
    for the inadequacies of the 35mm format.
    nobody nowhere, Aug 6, 2004
  9. George Kerby

    John McGraw Guest

    Charlie Rose had a wonderful interview with Cartier-Breson on Ch 22
    (SF) from 2000? on tonight. I wondered why it was on, if he had died
    I didn't know it was on, just surfed onto it.
    I was in a large camera store on Kearny St. Asked the young clerk if
    they had any used view camera equipment. He looked at me blankly &
    asked, "What's that?" I am not exaggerating! I found out that he's a
    photography student @ one of the many art schools in San Francisco.
    God, I hope he is in the start of his freshman year. John

    John McGraw, Aug 6, 2004
  10. George Kerby

    Boris Harss Guest

    I thought, it was a 50mm, but I might well be wrong. And then: For me,
    35mm is still a "normal" lense on the wide side ;-))

    Boris Harss, Aug 7, 2004
  11. It was 50 mm that he used. There are some discussions whether he ever
    used anything else. But, in any case, 50 mm was his choice. He used
    it because it "saw the world the way he saw it himself". And that
    was crucial, because he almost always aproached a photo without
    looking through the view finder.

    And personally I agree. The 50 mm is a wonderful lens, it gives neither
    excessive wide angle nor excessive tele pictures. I remember in the
    70-ies when the 35 mm started to become in fashion. And since then it
    has not been politically correct to say that anything but the 35 mm
    lens is the "normal" lens. But it isn't - the 50 mm is the normal
    lens - a 35 mm is a wide angle lens.

    If you don't believe that a 50 mm is a normal lens, then you can
    try to explain to me why a SLR gives a 1x magnification when you
    put a 50 mm lens on the camera. Hint - if a 35 mm lens gave you
    1x magnification, then the picture in the view finder would be
    bigger than is comfortable to look upon - it would be "wide". i.e.
    the 35 m lens is a wide angle lens.

    Roland Karlsson, Aug 7, 2004
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