Friday, June 5, 2015

Photograph like a Painter!

Henri Cartier-Bresson with his famous Leica Camera
Henri Cartier-Bresson with his famous Leica Camera
The 20th Century French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson is generally recognized as the first master of candid photography. Shooting exclusively with a 35mm Leica and a 50mm lens, his images often have a informal, almost casual feeling that doesn't seem like the work of a professional photographer.

At the same time, his best work shows an understanding of story-telling and balanced composition that many professional photographers would benefit from studying. Cartier-Bresson studied oil painting and classical literature at the Lhote Academy in Paris and Cambridge University before deciding to work primarily in photography. The influences of the classics as well as the cubists and surrealists can often be seen in his images.

Image by Henri Cartier-Bresson
Image by Henri Cartier-Bresson
He described his approach in these terms, "For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. It is by economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression."

In addition to his body of images, Cartier-Bresson also developed the concept of "The Decisive Moment" to describe the instant when the photographer recognizes when it is time to click the shutter. In the introduction to his book, which carries The Decisive Moment title, he explains it this way: “Photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.”

You might also like:
Mathew Brady and the Beginnings of Photojournalism
The First Photographer
You Would Even Say it Glows 

The Decisive Moment by Henri Cartier-Bresson