Wednesday, June 23, 2010

henri cartier bresson

like Picasso in art, Stravinsky in music, Henri Cartier Bresson (HCB) was the classic in photography. he was the father of modern photojournalism, helped develop what is now known as "street photography", coined the term "desicive moment", travelled throughout the world with his Leica, and co-founded Magnum- one of the most prestigious photography agencies known intenationally.

some of the very zen quotes from HCB:

"my passion has never been for photography in itself, but for the possibility of forgetting oneself and recording in a fraction of a second the emotion evoked by the subject and the beauty of the form- in other words, a geometry created by what is there."

"i never try to take great photographs. great photographs are offered to me. you have to be available to catch them, be there, not think too hard, forget yourslef, not force it, but use your senses, your intuition, your eye. there's no secret: there's no more to it than that."

"the subject only becomes important and the photography only gains strength when you succeed in forgetting yourself. it's through this attitude alone that you reach something real."

in an interview of HCB with Charlie Rose, Charlie asked HCB about he he takes his photographs, and asked him to give some technical information, HCB replied, "what is there to teach? it is just clicking with your finger"- while he made the clicking on shutter gesture.

HCB uses the beauty of geometry in his compositions. he despised staged pictures and banned any publisher from cropping his pictures. he even made a stamp that read "Do Not Crop" and stamped it on the back of his photographs with his signature and agency name.

although HCB is no longer with us in person, but his work continues to inspire photographers, not only in the photojournalism and street genre, but he also inspried great fashion photographers like Richard Avedon, Brigitte Lacombe and many others from a wider field.

inhale, digest, and be inspired by this legend~! :D

Matisse with his pigeons

the most famous photograph by HCB, look closely, there is another silhoutte with the similar pose in the background!

the examples of the photos here are just "the tip of an iceberg",
here are some links to more HCB~!


  1. Nice. Good timing in every photos?
    ahhh...forgetting yourself is the key. So good, sometimes we just can't let go ourselves and take every good change to click on the camera.

    Anyways, very nice black and white photos. O, the guy jumping which you said there is similar posture at the back, is it on the poster??? HAHA i kept trying to find it.

  2. ya! forgetting ourselves is the key. i think for a lot of things we do we should forget ourselves. hmmm. but is there difference between 无我 and 忘我? to me, 忘我 seems more "artist feel", but more "out of control". do you agree? hahaha...

    yes! it is in the poster in the background! hahah....