Not Forgotten: Henri Cartier-Bresson

That famous decisive moment just happened to be of a cyclist, right? The New York Times is running a series of the best obits and this week it’s about Henri Cartier-Bresson and his concept of capturing a split second that reveals a larger truth. 

The obit is a must read.

Sigma: The wait is over. Shop e-mount primes.

Photo: A street scene in the southern French town of Hyères in 1932. Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos, courtesy Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Here he is in 1972.

And, in his own words.

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. In order to give a “meaning” to the world, one has to feel involved in what one frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry. It is by economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression.

To take a photograph is to hold one’s breath when all faculties converge in a face of fleeing reality. It is at that moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.

To take a photograph means to recognize, simultaneously and within a fraction of a second‚ both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning.

It is putting one‚ head, one‚ eye, and one‚ heart on the same axis. 

My daily shooter is Sony a9 with a vertical grip and various Sigma lenses attached like the 14mm 1.4 Art. Find more gear recommendations in our shop.