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It was standing next to its sequential, The Europeans released in 1955 by the same publishing team.The cover and dust jacket had been designed by Matisse.However, something HCB brought along with his images changed the way in which we take images as well as in the way that we look at photographs.
, long after it, have discarded images on the contact sheet that did not meet these criteria?
How many still do, and still print the little black margins around their images to inform the viewer of their exacting practice? With Cartier-Bresson, photography had become a way of looking, a way of living, a philosophical approach and a metaphor for life: the frame strictly defined by the viewfinder stands as an illustration of the strict context of our lives (time, place, background).
The aura of does not just derive from the 126 photographs that compose it, among which such famous images as “Sunday on the Banks of the Marne” (1938), “Salermo” (1933), “Andalusia” (1933), “Valencia” (1933), “Calle Cuauhtemocztin, Mexico City” (1934), “Dessau, Germany” (1945) [a Gestapo informer is recognized], “Rice Fields in the Menangkabau Country, Sumatra” (1950), “A Eunuch of the Imperial Court. Many of these have been reproduced in other books, other catalogs.
The aura of this book does not simply derive from its sole physical qualities, the choice of the paper, its careful printing by Draeger, or even the cover designed by Matisse himself.
2004 has been a rather deadly year for photographers.
Van Deren Coke, Carl Mydans recently, and, within weeks, on the other side of the ocean three men, two of whom were photographers, Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) and Jean-Philippe Charbonnier (-2004), and one darkroom sorcerer, Pierre Gassman. There was an attitude that matched the character, he wanted to be the first one to look at his contact sheets.
In Henri, a booklet edited by Brigitte Ollier and published by Filigranes in 2003, Charbonnier remembered his first meeting with Cartier-Bresson (pp. “The Monument […] I think I met him by chance at Pierre Gassman’s Picto, rue de la Comète, or maybe rue Delambre […] We were doing the same job, we had the same lab to get our rolls processed, but we did not have the same stripes on our sleeves. Every photographer behaves this way, one does not just get master-pieces out of 36 exposures, and one does not have to advertise one’s hesitations and errors. He is a formidable “statue.” Henri, even if I regret that he should be so stiff.
[…] I can see him going for the first time over the contact sheets of a series he had just shot. For me he is THE living National Treasure at its best, […] I even allow myself to call him THE INSTITUTION.” (Aperture, 1999, p.
That same year Cartier-Bresson had to leave Africa, where he had been working as a safari guide, because of a life-threatening case of black fever. The tool gave the photographer the versatility, discretion, speed, and control that matched his character.
Cartier-Bresson gave it his eye and mind trained by the cubist painter Andre Lhote, and his experience as a hunter in Africa.