The Decisive Moment

Stella was just talking to me about Henri Cartier Bresson, whose works I saw at the Arts House about a year ago.

“In 1932, he stuck his camera between the slats of a fence near the St.-Lazare railway station in Paris at precisely the right instant and captured a picture of the watery lot behind the station, strewn with debris. A man has propelled himself from a ladder that lies in the water. Photographs of puddle jumpers were clichés then, but Mr. Cartier-Bresson brings to his image layer on layer of fresh and uncanny detail: the figure of a leaping dancer on a pair of posters on a wall behind the man mirrors him and his reflection in the water; the rippling circles made by the ladder echo circular bands of discarded metal debris; another poster, advertising a performer named Railowsky, puns with the railway station and the ladder, which, flat, resembles a railroad track.”

Feels like I’m over quoting already, but more about this much admired photographer, when Stella contributes. : )

qmark_pink.jpga leaf of… enjoys photography in this sense!


5 responses to “The Decisive Moment

  1. I remembered my first encounter with Henri’s work, which was a spread in Newsweek around 5-6 years back. It was a portrait of a beautiful young model relaxing in a lake. Her face was above water, body blurred beneath, and the camera (Leica I suppose) was placed just at the water’s edge against the sand, facing a backdrop of some rocky terrain.

    The overall picture was simply spectacular, such that I can picture it quite vividly in my head. I dunno why it stood out from other photographs – the subject matter is not something unique, it can be considered mundane if you like. But the way he works magic with contrast in the B&W medium, the way he captures the texture, the way he frames his focus is simply cool! Memorable and definitely a master.

  2. Henri Cartier Bresson is the photography version of my admiration for Mies van Der Rohe. They just published a big collection of his photos called “sketchbook”, they reprinted alot of his works, very good! and very ex also but well worth browsing. It s a big black book with the words “skecthbook” in golden art noveau like font

  3. OK! are you getting the sketchbook?

  4. i want to but it cost me the pocket money i got for my research work…which i already blew on train tickets in Vietnam…which aren’t as cheap as i would have thought.

  5. Haha okay. Chau!

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