Thursday, August 05, 2004

Henri Cartier-Bresson: 1908-2004

Since it probably won’t get a lot of press anywhere else, I thought it important to note the passing of one of the early masters of photography, a pioneer of modern photojournalism, and one of my favourite photographers. Henri-Cartier Bresson was a true purist in that he refused to use anything other than natural light and believed in capturing "the decisive moment." In his own words:

“’Manufactured’ or staged photography does not concern me. And if I make a judgement, it can only be on a psychological or sociological level. For me, the camera is a sketchbook, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity and the master of the instant, which questions and decides simultaneously. In order to "give a meaning" to the world, one has to feel oneself involved in what he frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, a discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry.

To take photographs means to recognize both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning. It is putting one's head, one's eye and one's hearth on the same axis.

As far as I am concerned, taking photographs is means of understanding, which can not be separated from other means of visual expression. It is a way of shooting, of freeing oneself, not of proving or asserting one's own originality. It is a way of life.”

Is photography art? Yes. It is art observing life which, in many ways, itself is an art form. Bresson was a master at both.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Brad! It's Mel!

I love your website....coming from a webmistress, I can honestly say it's wonderful! Clean, easy to navigate, and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

I'm so excited about your digital camera. I have to say, when I took a tour of your pictures I thought you scooped them from the Maritime tourism website because they are the most beautiful photographs of the Maritimes that I have ever seen....truly! I like the one of Peggy's cove and the one where you've captured the mist and feeling of an east coast village. Makes me proud that we live in such a gorgeous and interesting country. Of course I'm partial to the one of Rebecca on the beach looking at shells.

You and Rebecca amaze me with your artistic gifts and what a perfect match you are. Rob and I have talked about how there's no two people more suited for each other.

With regards to Henri Cartier-Bresson dying, I believe he had the right attitude towards his art...there can be no distance between the artist and his subject. The great Jazz artist Dizzy Gillespie said, "If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn."

Hope you both are doing well. How would you like to get together this weekend to catch up? We miss you both so much and I need my Rebecca hour once a week at Pilates isn't enough. How about a picnic at Stratford? We just got new tires for the car, so we're good to drive!

Love Mel