Henry Cartier Bresson

Paris, place de l’Europe, gare Saint-Lazare

Author: Henry Cartier-Bresson

Created in 1932

Gare Saint-Lazare© Henry Cartier Bresson
All shown images are under copyright protection

The “Desicive Instant” (“L’instant desicif”) is one of the most important concepts in 20th century photography. It was invented by who many refer to as “The eye of the century”: Henry Cartier-Bresson.

Cartier-Bresson composed very esthetic pictures through the viewfinder of his Leica and then just waited until something happened. A little something that made the picture unique. He thought that the essence of a whole situation can be captured in a desicive intant. The picture above is a classic example for this. We have a perfectly calm puddle of water and we are just about to witness the break of this silence by the person who is going to step into the water.

This image deeply touched my heart ever since I first saw it in a Cartier Bresson retrospective, shortly after his death in 2004. I recently talked to a fellow photographer, who told me he has a poster of this photo in his room. Often when he is sick an tired of his day to day work as a photographer (unlike me, he makes his living with it), he looks at this picture and is suddendly reminded why he started to photograph. I can feel what he means by that.

Below are similar and very famous images of Cartier Bresson. Back in 2004 it was one of the inspirations that made me want to own a camera.

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6 thoughts on “Henry Cartier Bresson”

    1. Hey Zaiya. What do you mean?
      Anything I write in this section is a digest from things I have learned in books about photography. There are numerous good books about Henry Cartier Bresson. He established some basic principles that millions of amateurs and professionals follow to this day.

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