The legend Henri Cartier Bresson: The incredible photographer
Henri Cartier Bresson is a famous photographer recognized throughout the world for his talent. It was in Chanteloup en Brie that the man was born on August 22 1908. He died in Montjustin on August 3, 2004. This French artist is a reference in the world of photography thanks to the quality of the graphics of his compositions as well as his precision. In fact, the photographer never proceeds to overshoot. cropping at the time of printing.
He first became known thanks to street photography by representing significant moments in the daily life of Europeans. We often mention the concept of the decisive moment when we talk about his photographs. But this is too reductive a term and it is preferable to use the term « photographic shooting », because the expression takes the context into account. But we must see Cartier Bresson as a true icon of 20th century photography who enjoyed a career with incredible longevity. , looking back at the major events of the previous century.
A year before he died, a foundation bearing his name was created in 2003 in Paris. Paris. The objective is then to preserve its works, but ;also to accompany and support the photographers with whom he maintained a friendly relationship. In 2014, the Henri Cartier Bresson exhibition was organized at the Pompidou Center in order to shed new light on his activity. activist from 1936 to 1946 for the Communist Party.
The influence of surrealist painters
Cartier Bresson came from a bourgeois family and spent a large part of his childhood in the Normandy region. Very quickly, he lost interest in school and spent most of his time at work. read. Without knowing it, this was his first contact with the world of art and he kept reading as a second passion throughout his life.
Despite Despite his multiple attempts, he did not succeed. obtain his baccalaureate and does not wish to take over the family business. He preferred to learn painting under the influence of André Lhote. After a year and a half spent in the painter's studio, he decides to break away from it, because he considers the approach too theoretical. During this same period, it begins to develop. take your first photographs.
In 1930, he went to Côte d’Ivoire for a year and unfortunately he fell seriously ill while being persuaded to go there. that he is going to die. However, he succeeded in heal and heal join France. It was by discovering the famous image of « children playing on Lake Tanganyika » of the famous artist Martin Munkacsi who made the decision to devote himself fully to his work. photography. Quickly, he took his first shots with surrealist images.
It’s a literary and artistic movement of which he knew certain eminent members like Andréé Breton. It was in 1932 that he took one of his most famous photographs: « behind the Gare Saint-Lazare » Cartier Bresson produced the photography in Paris. through a fence by inserting his camera between two wooden planks. This photograph also presents the particularity of to have been one of the few with undergo cropping.
If this image is visible today, it is because the artist managed to achieve this. protect it during the Second World War. For this, he did not hesitate. bury it with other photographs, but unfortunately they were not all captured. found which means that many series from this period are missing.
The troubled period of the Second World War
During this difficult period, he was a prisoner in prison. many times, but he succeeded on many occasions. every time escape. In 1943, he fled the country and more precisely the Germans in order to participate in the national movement of prisoners of war and deportees. When the war was over, Cartier Bresson made a documentary « The return » highlighting the conditions for repatriation of prisoners of war.
Thinking of; wrong that the artist does not survive During the Second World War, the Americans dedicated a posthumous exhibition to him. After learning about it, Cartier Bresson went to the United States to meet Newhall, the director of the exhibition.
The birth of the Magnum agency
His friend Robert Capa advised him to no longer consider himself a surrealist photographer, but rather as a reporter. In 1947, he founded the Magnum Photos agency with David Seymour, George Rodger, Robert Capa and William Vandivert. The name of the agency was found quickly, because it was associated with the magnum of champagne that they used in order to celebrate the creation of this agency. The first idea is to defend photographers so that they can manage their negatives themselves, without having to sell them. So, to access the photographies, the magazines will have to meet their requirements. Pay photographers as many times as necessary.
It’s also a very rich period for Cartier Bresson which will travel all over the planet. There are many anecdotes, but one of the most notable events undoubtedly remains Gandhi’s funeral which he covered in India. Cartier Bresson was able to meet this historical figure the day before his assassination by showing him a large part of his work. During his numerous travels, he also succeeded in film the last moments of Kuomintang in China.
The love of drawing
Cartier Bresson has succeeded in achieving this goal. build a global reputation through through decades of travel. But in 1974, he decided to distance himself from the world of photography by devoting himself to photography. one of his first loves, know drawing. Indeed, Cartier Bresson has always seen himself as a painter and not as a photographer. For him, the camera was a simple sketchbook to capture the decisive moments of life. Fun fact, he hated having his picture taken. Cartier Bresson died in August 2004 and will be buried there. in the Luberon at MontJustin.