Henri Cartier-Bresson (beyond his photos)

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sean lancaster
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Henri Cartier-Bresson (beyond his photos)
8 months ago

First, I am a big fan of his photography.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnMTpL5GQ9E

I just watched the video above about Henri Cartier-Bresson and some of his thinking behind his photography. I came away from it less impressed than I was just seeing his photography. To hear him talk about often firing away and waiting to look at the contact sheet later to see if a good shot exists (or even having an editor find it and edit it) seemed very amateurish.

I don't like the way he runs away from his talent and the art of photography. I know there are debates about whether photography is art or not and that's fine. But Cartier-Bresson is pretty sure he's not an artist. For example, he says, "photography is just a mind craft. What's all this about art? We're craftsmen! Like a joiner making a lovely chair." He then goes on to note that he's not into photography "per se" and that he just enjoys being there and recording this and that. The confusing part of this is that he had previously spent time telling us not to think about photography and to let it come to us. He has many examples of comparisons to artists painting. So, his approach is very similar to painters and the thinking that they use when painting, yet he doesn't want to be an artist . . . so he ends up being enigma.

He concludes by questioning what success means? "Succeed in living? Succeed in dying?" He then disgustingly says, "succeed." I don't have the context for that comment, but it sure seems like a person who is spiteful in life. Anyway, this is just a new light to view his work. Sigh. Perhaps I am being too harsh, but that's not a very good video to represent Henri Cartier-Bresson.

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