Henri Cartier-Bresson Quote
Welcome back everyone! We’re going to take a look at an excellent quote by Henri Cartier-Bresson. If you’ve been following this project so far, you’ve probably heard me mention him before. Just like the masters of the past like Da Vinci and Van Gogh, we can learn a lot from Bresson who is without a doubt, a master of his craft.
“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 of preoccupation, being a simultaneous coalition – an organic coordination of visual elements.” ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson
He’s always looking for design…looking for geometry…opportunities that he can then capture as the elements align. Yes, if you’ve seen his contact sheets you’ll find in some cases he takes 5 or 6 pictures of a particular scene. This doesn’t mean he’s not aware of what he wants to capture. He’s making split-second decisions before each click. This is where what he calls his “intuition” comes into play. All of his experience providing logical, decision-making impulses in a nanosecond. This is one of the reasons you have to learn design and keep practicing it. See it in the world around you, as you work, as you drive, as you walk down the street. Only then will you allow it to guide your artistic decisions when it matters the most.
Here’s an example of his contact sheets.
This is one of the final shots they released. All of them are great shots and tell a unique story, but when you take multiple shots, one will always outshine the others.
Here’s another one. you can see how he’s telling a story with the broken wall and the injured boy.
Here’s a closeup. (all contact sheet photos are courtesy of Eric Kim Street Photography Blog)
Here are some other examples of Bresson’s work.
This one is what I call a ‘Mousetrap” where he’ll find a scene, compose his shot, then wait for the subject to come into place.