Henri Cartier-Bresson is a legendary man and the father of photojournalism, a French photographer, without whom it is impossible to imagine 20th century photo art. He was the founder of the street photography genre. His black and white photographs are history, atmosphere, breath and the rhythm of life of an entire era, and hundreds of contemporary photographers study in his photographs.
The future genius was born into a family of wealthy thread manufacturers. From childhood, he showed interest in painting and loved to draw. A real passion for art was instilled in the boy by his uncle, who was an artist. He gave his nephew painting lessons, which made a strong impression on Cartier-Bresson.
Henri Cartier-Bresson had a camera since childhood, but he used it infrequently, mainly taking off his leisure time during the summer holidays. A real interest in photography woke up in him when, traveling around Africa, a young man saw a picture of Martin Munkachi. It depicted three black boys who jumped into Lake Tanganyika. Henri Cartier-Bresson was impressed by the beauty and dynamics of this shot. He was so fascinated by the work he saw that he immediately bought a “real” camera, which was a waxed wooden box that worked with 9x12 cm plates.
A year later, under the influence of the hot and humid climate of Africa, the camera began to mold. The photographic plates became unusable, and Cartier-Bresson himself went home for treatment due to a serious illness. At this time, an important event happened for him - an acquaintance with the Leica camera, which was compact enough to allow you to shoot objects in motion. From this, the master’s path to “real photography” began.At first, the photographer walked around the city for days, taking pictures of everything that was happening around. After recovery, Henri Cartier-Bresson again began to travel the world. In 1937, he married Ratna Mohini. It was during this period that the photographer began to form his own style, later called the "decisive moment".The last day of the distribution of gold Kuomitangom. Shanghai - China, 1949
Children playing cowboys, Rome - Italy, 1951.
The period of turning a talented amateur into a recognized professional by Henri Cartier-Bresson coincided with the outbreak of World War II. The photographer fought with the rank of corporal and was captured during the Nazi invasion of France. He was held captive for a year and a half, made several attempts to escape, and only the third was successful.
Returning to Paris, Cartier-Bresson became a member of the Resistance, continued to photograph, despite the risk of being arrested. After the war, the phonograph made the film "Return", which described the return of captured French to their homeland. The world famous photograph of that period is the released prisoner of the Dessau concentration camp.A child freed from a concentration camp, Dessau - Germany, 1945.
In 1947, Cartier-Bresson took part in the creation of the Magnum organization, which brought together talented photographers from around the world. The planet was "divided" into spheres of influence, and the French photographer "got" Asia. For more than ten years, the master has devoted work in India and China, during which time he has become very popular all over the world.
Cartier-Bresson reached maximum popularity in the fifties of the last century. He was exhibited in many countries of Europe, Asia and America, his pictures were posted by famous publications. The master’s visits to the USSR in 1954 and 1972 contributed a lot to this.
From the photographs taken during the stay in the country, the album “Muscovites” was compiled, which was exhibited in many western cities. These works played a very important role in changing the image of the USSR - ordinary people are on them: funny and sad, busy with their own affairs or relaxing, but at the same time completely simple. The myth of a Russian man with a rifle in his hands and in an embrace with a bear was finally debunked.
The photographer worked productively until the beginning of the seventies, and then almost all the attention began to be paid to graphics. He picked up the camera only to take a portrait or capture a particularly interesting plot.
Paradoxically, the art of photography that elevated him to the pinnacle of world fame, Cartier-Bresson put lower than painting. He used the camera as a tool that can only capture an amusing moment, and did not see any art in it. According to the genius of photography, he did not want to direct production scenes, he just had what was happening around him.
Henri Cartier-Bresson spent the rest of his life doing what he really loved - painting. The genius of photography died on August 2, 2004, in the small town of Ile sur la Sorgue (France).
Individual work style
Cartier-Bresson was known for his “invisible shooting” method - many of his models were not even aware that they were being photographed. Invisibility skills were honed for good reason. The master loved to show the truth in its purest form. When a person knows that he is being shot, natural behavior is replaced by playing and posing, and such pictures are artificial and insincere. The photographer even disguised himself by sticking a black film over the shiny parts of his camera so as not to attract too much attentionThe ability to take a picture at the most intense moment made Cartier-Bresson the genius of street photography. Most of his works emit emotions, many of them can be considered for a long time, experiencing a wide variety of mixed feelings.
All the work of the master of photography was based on the assertion that there is only one best moment to release the shutter. If you miss him, then he will not return anymore, so you should always keep the camera ready. Thanks to the constant observance of this principle, the genius created thousands of works that brought him fame and instill artistic taste in many photographers around the world.