I chose Henri Cartier-Bresson for several reasons first and foremost because of the fact that he was a pioneer in the art of street photography and photojournalism. Cartier-Bresson was born into a wealthy family which afforded him the ability to travel. Although painting was his first love while recovering from a fever in Africa Cartier-Bresson saw a photojournalism picture in a magazine that inspired him to pursue photography. Upon his return home Cartier-Bresson bought a Leica 35mm camera and took to the streets to capture life. Cartier-Bresson liked the anonymity that the small camera afforded him and even used black tape or paint to cover the shiny parts so that he wouldn’t be noticed. He never used flash, only used black and white film and hated to develop and process his film, he only wanted to shoot. Just two years after starting photography Cartier-Bresson had his first exhibition. He would eventually total over 30 in all. During his career Cartier-Bresson also starred, assisted or directed 7 films and produced several books featuring his photography and techniques. In 1947 with others, he formed Magnum Photos, a co-op picture agency that covered news events all over the world. In the early 70s Cartier- Bresson returned to his first love of painting and by 1975 had retired from photography all together only taking the occasional personal photographs of family. Cartier-Bresson preferred not to have his photo taken just because he was famous,
I liked the fact that he was able to travel the world doing what he loved to do and was able to stop when he didn’t love it anymore. One of his more famous quotes that sums up photography is “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event.”
Glenn J. Morris Jr.