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.