Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Work

Surely, lovers of Photography as well as all of our Francophone friends have heard about him and know his work. Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) was a French photographer and is considered the father of modern Photojournalism. After unsuccessfully studying music, Cartier-Bresson entered at the Lhote Academy, the studio of the Cubist painter André Lhote. There, although he became very close to the Surrealist movement, he progressively became tired of their approach to art. With the “Photography Revolution” taking place, quickly Cartier-Bresson embraced its motto “Crush Tradition! Photograph things as they are!”. It was in the 1930s, during a trip to Africa, that he decided to take photography seriously. By 1937, after starting working as a photographer for the French Communist Party newspaper, Cartier-Bresson’s first photojournalist photos were published after he covered the streets of London during the coronation of Queen Elisabeth and King George VI. Nevertheless, when World War II broke up, he was assigned to the Army Film and Photo Unit. He was captured in 1940 by the Germans and sent to a forced labour camp where he was imprisoned for 3 years. It was at the end of the war that his work started to be recognized as he photographed brilliant moments such as this one – “A former Gestapo informer being identified as she tried to hide in the crowd”. He later founded the Magnum Photos – which we already wrote about here. Photography took him everywhere and famously permit him to freely photograph the daily life in the Soviet Union (check his photos here). Many, consider Cartier-Bresson the most brilliant photographer of the 20th century. If you have the chance, we strongly advise you to visit the Henri Cartier Bresson Foundation – which has been “preserving and keeping alive his spirit and work”.


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