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!