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  1. 1. Henri Cartier-Bresson <ul><li>August 22, 1908 – August 3, 2004 </li></ul>
  2. 2. <ul><li>a French photographer considered to be the father of modern photojournalism . </li></ul><ul><li>An early adopter of 35 mm format, and the master of candid photography. </li></ul><ul><li>He helped develop the &quot; street photography &quot; or &quot;real life reportage&quot; style that has influenced generations of photographers that followed. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>He co-founded the Magnum Photo agency in 1947 </li></ul><ul><li>1953, he published the ‘bible’ of documentary photography: </li></ul><ul><li>‘The Decisive Moment’ </li></ul>
  4. 4. Why is Bresson still influential today? <ul><li>“ The decisive moment, it is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson </li></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>From a privileged family in Paris, Bresson trained first as a painter. </li></ul><ul><li>He began mixing with the surrealists. </li></ul><ul><li>He studied at Cambridge. </li></ul><ul><li>He then travelled widely. </li></ul><ul><li>He was very influenced by this image, by Martin Munkacsi in 1929, ‘3 Boys at Lake Tanganyika. </li></ul>Background
  6. 7. A small camera, it allowed for more anonymity. He also painted it black to make it less obvious <ul><li>‘ I suddenly understood that a photograph could fix eternity in an instant.’ </li></ul><ul><li>Inspired he acquired a 50mm Leica and turned to photography. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ I prowled the streets all day, feeling very strung-up and ready to pounce, ready to 'trap' life’. </li></ul>
  7. 8. ‘ Death of a loyalist soldier’ 1936 Robert Capa <ul><li>In the 1930’s he shared a studio with David Seymour and Robert `Capa. They were both photojournalists, particularly interested in War photography and together with HCB they established the Magnum agency. </li></ul><ul><li>Capa advised HCB: ‘D on't keep the label of a surrealist photographer. Be a photojournalist. If not you will fall into mannerisms. Keep surrealism in your little heart, my dear. Don't fidget. Get moving!&quot; </li></ul>
  8. 9. <ul><li>During the war he was imprisoned in a prisoner of war camp. </li></ul><ul><li>He escaped on the third attempt. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1943 he dug up his camera that he had buried to keep it safe! </li></ul><ul><li>In 1945 he was commissioned to make the film ‘Le Retour’ </li></ul>
  9. 10. <ul><li>Artistic roots? </li></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><li>one of the most famous of his photographs, is primarily about the decisive moment- to an astonishing extent.  Just look at the distance between the man’s heel and the surface of the water – it was a split second of intuitive timing.  It just would’t have been so perfect if the heel had penetrated the water. </li></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>1.) Photography that is art is (potentially) a bridge to reality, a bridge to a more sensitive reading of the world and a bridge to understanding the true self. </li></ul><ul><li>  Q. Is photography that isn’t art a bridge to reality etc.? </li></ul><ul><li>2) What is art?  A working definition is; </li></ul><ul><li>Art is culturally, and personally, significant meaning, skilfully encoded in an affecting, sensuous medium.  </li></ul><ul><li>Decide how satisfactory this definition is for you.  Find others – compare them.  Decide on your own definition until you feel compelled to modify your definition. </li></ul><ul><li>3) What about the art of this great photographer, HCB, whose work spanned the extraordinary changes of most of the 20thC?  What are the elements of that greatness? </li></ul><ul><li>4) Cartier-Bresson photographs tend to be those in which there is a near perfect balance between three interrelating elements; the decisive moment, geometry and compassion (compassion as the key quality in the eye of of the humanistic eye).   </li></ul>
  12. 13. <ul><li>In most of his photographs one of these three elements dominates.   </li></ul><ul><li>One question for debate is this; “Is he at his greatest when all three, more or less, in balance with each other? </li></ul><ul><li>In this ‘triangulation’ of compassion, geometry and the decisive moment we have a Cartier- Bresson-ian aesthetic. </li></ul>
  13. 15. <ul><li>Compassion </li></ul>
  14. 16. <ul><li>Q HCB also refused to crop any photograpy – he always had the negative printed full frame.  His financial independence meant he could travel the world and take thousands of photographs, accepting that only one or two per year would satisfy him.  Was the imposition of the ‘no-cropping full-frame self-imposed’ rule counter-productive, a discipline too far? </li></ul><ul><li>Did HCB take ‘the Decisive Moment’ too far? </li></ul>
  15. 17. <ul><li>Ile de la Cité, 1952 </li></ul>
  16. 18. <ul><li>Seville, 1933 </li></ul>
  17. 19. <ul><li>The Berlin Wall, 1963 </li></ul>
  18. 22. See if you can create your own ‘decisive moment’