Henri Cartier-Bresson, (born August 22, 1908, Chanteloup, France—died August 3, 2004, Céreste), French photographer whose humane, spontaneous photographs helped establish photojournalism as an art form. His theory that photography can capture the meaning beneath outward appearance in instants of extraordinary clarity is perhaps best expressed in his book Images à la sauvette (1952; The Decisive Moment).
Cartier-Bresson was born and attended school in a village not far from Paris. In 1927–28 he studied in Paris with André Lhote, an artist and critic associated with the Cubist movement. Lhote implanted in him a lifelong interest in painting, a crucial factor in the education of his vision. In 1929 Cartier-Bresson went to the University of Cambridge, where he studied literature and painting.
As a boy, Cartier-Bresson had been initiated into the mysteries of the simple “Brownie” snapshot camera. But his first serious concern with the medium occurred about 1930, after seeing the work of two major 20th-century photographers, Eugène Atget and Man Ray. Making use of a small allowance, he traveled in Africa in 1931, where he lived in the bush, recording his experiences with a miniature camera. There he contracted blackwater fever, necessitating his return to France. The portability of a small camera and the ease with which one could record instantaneous impressions must have struck a sympathetic chord, for in 1933 he purchased his first 35-mm Leica. The use of this type of camera was particularly relevant to Cartier-Bresson. It lent itself not only to spontaneity but to anonymity as well. So much did Cartier-Bresson wish to remain a silent, and even unseen, witness, that he covered the bright chromium parts of his camera with black tape to render it less visible, and he sometimes hid the camera under a handkerchief. The man was similarly reticent about his life and work.
In more than 40 years as a photographer, Cartier-Bresson wandered continually around the world. But there was nothing compulsive about his travels, and he explicitly expressed a desire to move slowly, to “live on proper terms” in each country, to take his time, so that he became totally immersed in the environment.
In 1937 Cartier-Bresson produced a documentary film, his first, on medical aid in the Spanish Civil War. The date also marked his first reportage photographs made for newspapers and magazines. His enthusiasm for filmmaking was further gratified when, from 1936 to 1939, he worked as an assistant to the film director Jean Renoir in the production of Une Partie de campagne (A Day in the Country) and La Règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game). As a photographer he felt indebted to the great films he saw as a youth. They taught him, he said, to choose precisely the expressive moment, the telling viewpoint. The importance he gave to sequential images in still photography may be attributed to his preoccupation with film.
In 1940, during World War II, Cartier-Bresson was taken prisoner by the Germans. He escaped in 1943 and the following year participated in a French underground photographic unit assigned to record the German occupation and retreat. In 1945 he made a film for the U.S. Office of War Information, Le Retour, which dealt with the return to France of released prisoners of war and deportees.
Though Cartier-Bresson’s photographs had been exhibited in 1933 in the prestigious Julien Levy Gallery in New York City, a more important tribute was paid to him in 1947, when a one-man exhibition was held in that city’s Museum of Modern Art. In that same year, Cartier-Bresson, in partnership with the U.S. photographer Robert Capa and others, founded the cooperative photo agency known as Magnum Photos. The organization offered periodicals global coverage by some of the most talented photojournalists of the time. Under the aegis of Magnum, Cartier-Bresson concentrated more than ever on reportage photography. The following three years found him in India, China, Indonesia, and Egypt. This material and more, taken in the 1950s in Europe, formed the subjects of several books published between 1952 and 1956. Such publications helped considerably to establish Cartier-Bresson’s reputation as a master of his craft. One of them, and perhaps the best known, Images à la sauvette, contains what is probably Cartier-Bresson’s most comprehensive and important statement on the meaning, technique, and utility of photography. The title refers to a central idea in his work—the decisive moment—the elusive instant when, with brilliant clarity, the appearance of the subject reveals in its essence the significance of the event of which it is a part, the most telling organization of forms. Later books include Cartier-Bresson’s France (1971), The Face of Asia (1972), and About Russia (1974).
He was singularly honoured by his own country in 1955, when a retrospective exhibition of 400 of his photographs was held at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris and was then displayed in Europe, the United States, and Japan before the photographs were finally deposited in the Bibliothèque Nationale (National Library) in Paris. In 1963 he photographed in Cuba; in 1963–64, in Mexico; and in 1965, in India. The French filmmaker Louis Malle recalled that, during the student revolt in Paris in May 1968, Cartier-Bresson appeared with his 35-mm camera and, despite the explosive activities, took photographs at the rate of only about four per hour.
In the late 1960s Cartier-Bresson began to concentrate on making motion pictures—including Impressions of California (1969) and Southern Exposures (1971). He believed that still photography and its use in pictorial magazines was, to a large extent, being superseded by television. On principle, he always avoided developing his own prints, convinced that the technical exigencies of photography were a harmful distraction. Similarly, he directed the shooting of films and did not wield the camera himself. With this medium, however, he was no longer able to work unobtrusively by himself. Cartier-Bresson devoted his later years to drawing.
His Leica—his notebook, as he called it—accompanied him wherever he went, and, consistent with his training as a painter, he always carried a small sketch pad. There was for Cartier-Bresson a kind of social implication in the camera. To his mind, photography provided a means, in an increasingly synthetic epoch, for preserving the real and humane world.
Digital technology is such a good thing especially for those with extremely creative imaginations. London-based artist Daniella Zalcman realizes the concept behind her latest project, which is simply called New York + London: A Collection of Double Exposures. As the title declares, the collection is simply what it states.
From the Far Rockaway to the South Bronx in New York, or from Hammersmith all the way to White Chapel in London, the series merges iconic landmarks and imagery, turning into a series of amalgamated images of locations, haunts and skylines.
Originally inspired by the concept during her last month in New York City, Zalcman snapped over 100 smartphone photographs of the streets in NYC. With that start, she then used different smartphone apps to juxtapose her pictures of the Big Apple over images of London.
The composite results reveal striking similarities between two of the world’s most iconic cities. Zalcman’s work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, and Sports Illustrated, and she is at present raising funds thru Kickstarter to fund a photo book of her work.
Zalcman recently spoke of New York + London: A Collection of Double Exposures,
“I was inspired by my move from New York City to London last year. I think it’s natural (and unavoidable) to constantly compare your old home and your new home when you move somewhere new (“London cab drivers actually know how to get around!” “The Tube closes at 12:30am?!”), and this is my way of visually capturing that instinct. These images are very much about architecture and urban infrastructure and I love comparing the two cities in that particular respect. London feels like such an old city rooted in visual tradition, where New York always feels like it’s trying to be as shiny and new as possible.”
Source: Double Exposure
In commission of the City Archives and the The Amsterdam Fund for the Arts Erik Klein Wolterink has focused on the innards of the kitchens, as if the exterior didn’t matter.
The photographer opened cupboards, drawers, fridges and ovens. Each piece he photographed separately and reconstructed the images again to one unit. Like him, we zoom in on what the cupboards have collected over months or even decades. From instant mashed potatoes to truffle oil, from Maggi cubes to Ethiopian spice mixes. This is the raw material with which we must try to imagine who belongs to these kitchens.
A well-stocked kitchen refers to Turkish cookery with goat’s cheese and halal sausage. But the mix for homemade apple pie is a witness of an open attitude towards other customs. A mother shows her African roots with a plastic Voltic Sparkling Water bottle filled with palm oil. Female students undermine our prejudices with a spotless kitchen. In the kitchen of a family with growing children, a packet of Korma curry of Pakistani descent and cardamom pods try to square themselves with Dutch kitchen habits. Here the Dutch sandwich culture leaves its traces in the sandwich wrappers in the drawer, the sandwiches in the fridge and the Nutella chocolate paste in the sink cupboard next to the abrasive agent. The kitchen as metaphor of a complex, multicultural reality.
The book Kitchen Portraits is for sale in the City Bookshop.
see all the pictures here
BK Magazine has asked Bangkokians “What is it that you love so very dearly about your beautiful city?”
This is what they said:
Do dogs really look like their owners? They do in this project by Swiss photographer Sebastian Magnani – he has spliced together portraits of the owners with their four-legged friends in a series called Underdogs
“I first started the project in August 2009. As soon as I had the idea, it had pretty much already been realized, namely to photograph dogs with their owners. What originally started out as entertainment, without expectation, without any pressure, was suddenly creating waves. The four-legged friends and their owners have since travelled the world. Various blogs, journals, and television shows have all reported on the bizarre image combinations of humans and animals. So where does this striking resemblance between dog and owner come from? Does the “underdog” really rank himself lower, even visually? It is undisputed that the canines not only stir emotions and interest, but also our inner most needs. Dogs are considered loyal, selfless, trustworthy, life saving, fun and proud companions in a world where these values are gradually disappearing. From the inexhaustible number of examples, lies the difficulty to find the gems, which captivate with uniqueness, brilliance and depth. Only to create a single moment of symbiosis – between man and beast – to be one.”
See all pictures at The Guardian
As though straight out of a Tim Burton film or, more commonly, a dream, the Color Consumption photo series deals and wheels in the surreal. As its title suggests, each image focuses on the use of saturated hues that help to create the fantastical feel present in the photographs. From hot pinks and bright blues to different shades of green, the colors are fun, playful and even a tad mysterious.
Shot by Design Army, a studio based in Washington, DC, and founded by husband and wife team Pum and Jake LeFebure, the Color Consumption photo series is a self-initiated project centered around their main inspiration
The husband-and-wife team behind Design Army can sum up what drives them in one word: color. “Color makes us feel alive. It fuels our minds, connects spirits, and feeds imaginations,” say Pum and Jake LeFebure, a design duo known predominantly for their layouts and publications. “It is everywhere when you look around. Everything on the planet is a color.”
This has led to Color Consumption, a self-initiated series of photographs focused on the couple’s main inspiration. The couple explains, “Color is a commodity. It is the ultimate currency to sustain and nourish our creative souls. It’s a design mantra we call ‘Color Consumption’.”
More information at www.designarmy.com