Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri
Cartier-Bresson
1908
2004

French Photographer, Artist, considered father of modern photojournalism

Author Quotes

Photography is a way of shouting, of freeing oneself, not of proving or asserting one's own originality. It's a way of life.

Taking photographs is a means of understanding which cannot be separated from other means of visual expression. It is a way of shouting, of freeing oneself, not of proving or asserting one`s own originality. It is a way of life.

The world is going to pieces and people like Adams and Weston are photographing rocks! ?circa 1930's

We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.

Photography is an immediate action; drawing a meditation For me photography is to place head heart and eye along the same line of sight. It is a way of life.

Technique is important only insofar as you must master it in order to communicate what you see.

There are only coincidences.

We must cut some of it out on the spot, simplify. The question is, do we always cut out what we should? While we?re working, we must be conscious of what we?re doing.

Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing a meditation.

The camera enables us to keep a kind of visual record. We photo-reporters are people who supply information to a world in haste and swamped, willy-nilly, in a morass of printed matter. This abbreviation of the statement which is the language of photography is very potent; we express, in effect, an adjudgment of what we see, and this demands intellectual honesty. We work in terms of reality, not of fiction, and must therefore ?discover?, not fabricate.

There is a lot of talk about camera angles; but the only valid angles in existence are the angles of the geometry of composition and not the ones fabricated by the photographer who falls flat on his stomach or performs other antics to procure his effects.

We must place ourselves and our camera in the right relationship with the subject, and it is in fitting the latter into the frame of the viewfinder that the problems of composition begin. This recognition, in real life, of a rhythm of surfaces, lines, and values is for me the essence of photography; composition should be a constant preoccupation, being a simultaneous coalition ? an organic coordination of visual elements. Composition does not just happen; there must be a need for expression, and substance cannot be divorced from form.

Photography is an instantaneous operation, both sensory and intellectual ? an expression of the world in visual terms, and also a perpetual quest and interrogation.

The camera is for us a tool, not a pretty mechanical toy? people think far too much about techniques and not enough about seeing.

There is no closed figure in nature. Every shape participates with another. No one thing is independent of another, and one thing rhymes with another, and light gives them shape.

We must respect the atmosphere which surrounds the human being.

Photography is nothing--its life that interests me.

The camera, now as ever, empowers the individual to engage with others from the other side of town or the other side of the world.

There is one domain which photography has won away from painting ? or so it is claimed ? and that is portraiture. Faced with the camera, people proffer their best ?profile? to posterity. It is their hope, blended with a certain magic fear, to outlive themselves in this portrait, and here they give us a hold. The first impression we have of a face is frequently correct; if to this first impression others are added by further acquaintance, the better we know the person the harder it becomes to pick out the essential qualities. One of the touching features of portraiture is that it reveals the permanence of mankind, even if only in the family album. We must respect the surroundings which provide the subject?s true setting, while avoiding all artifice which destroys the authentic image. The mere presence of the photographer and his camera affects the behavior of the ?victim?. Massive apparatus and flash bulbs prevent the subject from being himself.

We often hear of ?camera angles? (that is, those made by a guy who throws himself flat on his stomach to obtain a certain effect or style), but the only legitimate angles that exist are those of the geometry of the composition.

Photography is only intuition, a perpetual interrogation ? everything except a stage set.

The chief requirement is to be fully involved in this reality which we delineate in the viewfinder. The camera is to some extent a sort of notebook for recording sketches made in time and space, but it is also an admirable instrument for seizing upon life as it presents itself.

There?s a particular kind of painting that is no longer practiced, that of portraiture, and there are those who say that the discovery of photography is the cause. It does seem apt to credit photography with the abandonment by painters of this painterly form. A subject wearing a military coat, a cap, and sitting on a horse can discourage even the most well-schooled painter, who feels overwhelmed by all the details of the costume. We, as photographers, are not bothered by all these details. Rather, we enjoy ourselves, because we can easily capture life in all its reality through our camera.

We photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again. We cannot develop and print a memory.

Photography is simultaneously and instantaneously the recognition of a fact and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that express and signify that fact.

Author Picture
First Name
Henri
Last Name
Cartier-Bresson
Birth Date
1908
Death Date
2004
Bio

French Photographer, Artist, considered father of modern photojournalism