Inspiration, On the bookshelf, Photography
Comments 3

On the Bookshelf – Henri Cartier-Bresson Photographer / A Propos de Paris

Last Christmas both my parents and my brother gave me books on photography by Henri Cartier-Bresson. It turns out that by blogging about what is on my bookshelf, they were able to deduce what wasn’t there.

Henri Cartier-Bresson: Photographer is a comprehensive collection of Cartier-Bresson’s work spanning the years 1926 to 1979 and includes images from France, Mexico, China, Russia, and even Japan.

In Henri Cartier-Bresson: À Propos de Paris he delves deeper into his relationship with Paris.

One aspect of his images I find fascinating is his ability to get fly-on-the-wall shots where the presence of the photographer is unnoticed or ignored. I have never used Leica cameras, but their compact size would not only make the photographer more maneuverable, I presume, it also reduces the impact the photographer has on the scene. Subjects would have behaved differently for example if he’d used a giant camera like my Pentax 67 that tends to get stared at rather than ignored (Not to mention the rifle-like crack of the Pentax’s shutter).

My favorite Cartier-Bresson image can be found in both books, captioned Hyères, France, 1932, it  is a perfect example of  “the decisive moment.” I thought this would be an inspiring image to have on my wall, especially for a cycling photographer. I found one print here but it had already been sold. I guess I’ll just have to wait for Christie’s to auction another!

Hyères, France, 1932 by Henri Cartier-Bresson


  1. Annya says

    Chris, did you get a chance to watch the two documentaries on Henri Cartier-Bresson I gave you?

  2. I’ve already watched the Henri Cartier-Bresson episode of Contacts. I liked his comment “catch the animal in its den, the surroundings are as important as the face.”

    The Home movie was great, I’d seen it on You Tube, which reminds me I should put up a post about it as there is some fantastic imagery.


    PocketWizards on their way!

  3. Pingback: On the Bookshelf – Robert Capa « Chris Willson's Blog

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