Quotes by Henri Cartier - Bresson

October 16, 2017




I am constantly amused by the notion that some people have about photographic technique - a notion which reveals itself in an insatiable craving for sharpness of images. Is this the passion of an obsession? Or do these people hope, by this tromp l'oeil technique, to get to closer grips with reality? In either case, they are just as far away from the real problem as those of that other generation which used to endow all its photographic anecdotes with an intentional unsharpness such as was deemed to be "artistic."




Photography is, for me, a spontaneous impulse coming from an ever-attentive eye, which captures the moment and its eternity.



Photography implies the recognition of a rhythm in the world of real things. 



We work in unison with movement as though it were a presentiment of the way in which life itself unfolds. But inside movement there is one moment at which the elements in motion are in balance. 



One must always take photographs with the greatest respect for the subject & oneself.



The true portrait emphasizes neither the suave or grotesque but reflects the personality. 



Complicated equipment and light reflectors and various other items of hardware are enough, to my mind, to prevent the birdie from coming out.







The photographer's eye is perpetually evaluating. A photographer can bring coincidence of line simply by moving his head a fraction of a millimeter....But he composes a picture in very nearly the same amount of time it takes to click the shutter, at the speed of a reflex action. 



There is a lot of talk about camera angles; but the only valid angles in existence are the angles of geometry and composition and not the ones fabricated by the photographer who falls flat on his stomach or performs other antics to procure his effects. 






 On other photographers and friends...



For me Ernst [Haas] was sensitivity itself; he had an irresistible charm and wit, a knowledge of the world, its color, its stratis ficatious since its origin, various cultures he expressed so vividly in his photographs. 


He disappeared swiftly like a comet leaving behind a long trail of human understanding and with such finesse. 


I can hear him bursting out laughing and making fun of me if he had read this. 








Chim [David Seymour] picked up his camera the way a doctor takes his stethoscope out of his bag, applying his diagnoses to the condition of the heart. 









Our friendship is lost in the darkness of time. We will no longer have his  [Robert Doisneau] laugh, full of compassion, nor his hard-hitting retorts, so funny and profound. Never told twice: each time a surprise. But his deep kindness, his love for all beings and for a simple life will always exist in his work.  





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