Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1908 – 2004, born in France, was both an artist and a journalist. He abandoned his studies of literature and painting after he saw the early sports photographs in illustrated magazines. When he began his career in photography, the bulky press photographer’s camera that used large, single sheets of film, one sheet per image, was being replaced by the new lightweight 35 mm Leica camera. Later he spent three years in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II.
Cartier-Bresson is the father of modern photojournalism. He was influenced by French surrealism, an art movement that found significance in the meanings that lie beneath the surface of everyday life. The context of a gesture, a meeting or a setting in a photograph could convey great beauty or emotion. From this he developed the style of candid “street photography,” which is still in use. Cartier-Bresson met and photographed the world’s leading artists, writers, and politicians. Many familiar faces appear among his works: the movie director John Huston, the writer Truman Capote, novelist William Faulkner, fashion designer Coco Chanel, sculptor Alexander Calder, and writer Carson McCullers. Pictured is philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, left, with architect Jean Pouillon on the Pont des Arts in 1946
Related terms: Man Ray, Alfred Stieglitz, The Decisive Moment, Facts About Henri Cartier-Bresson, Henri Cartier-Bresson Photographs, Henri Cartier-Bresson Biography, Henri Cartier-Bresson Books, Henri Cartier-Bresson Famous Photographs