Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Father Of Modern Photo Journalism

Many photographers first pick up a camera and head out to the streets to capture people in their own city. Well before there are studio lights to consider, models to coach, wardrobes and makeup to style, or locations to scout, there is only a photographer and the streets. Henri Cartier-Bresson is perhaps the earliest and most well known street photographer. Born in France in 1908, Henri created "surreal" images that would later become known as a photojournalistic approach to photography. His most well known publication, The Decisive Moment, features historic images from both the East and the West during his coverage of Gandhi's funeral, the end of the Chinese Civil War, and the liberation of Indonesia from the Dutch. In this short documentary, Henri describes his ideas on portraits and photojournalism and how he thinks subjects are best approached. I love the psychology of photography presented in this video; what do you guys think?

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 So many wonderful insights and quotes. I loved this video! 

While I was watching the video, it was all like everything all around stopped and my mind was accepting only the pictures and his pleasant voice. A true mental experience…

I felt the same, it was like time stopped for the duration of the film... I get this every time I have the privilege of listening to a genius (of photography in this case).
It amazes me how they create absolutely wonderful things as easy as breathing.

 I was fortunate enough to visit "The Modern Century" exhibit at MoMA and was blown away by his work.  It was quite impressive up close and in person.  The local school library has a copy of "The Decisive Moment" and I recommend that all photographers read his intro to the book.  It would be nice to see it printed again.

 I'm glad to see we all felt the same way while watching this clip. I literally stopped and rethought how to compose better shots. The fact that he WAITED for the right shot, just blew my mind at his patience for perfect. He waited over an hour looking at a guy and only took 6 shots. 

Alfie Goodrich's picture

@themsquaredgroup:disqus "The fact that he WAITED for the right shot, just blew my mind at his patience for perfect."

Street photography is, for me, like fishing.... you either trawl the street with a wider lens or you pick the best spot in the 'river' and wait. Patience is everything. It's something I teach my photography students through taking them back off of the machine-gun methodology of digital [shoot-look-delete-shoot-look-delete] and having them only shoot 36frames for a whole day, without deleting anything. I don't miss film, most of the time, but the discipline that came with a medium that cost you money every time you pressed the button is something that is worthwhile to reclaim.

Awesome video. 

What I learned most from HCB is what I learned by looking at his contact-sheets, through which you can see the mental processes developing from shot to shot. 

Sean Shimmel's picture

His greatest joy... geometry! 

Reminds me of Rush's Hemispheres... the two halves of the brain. The sensuous and the analytic."Yes, yes, yes!"

Joop van Roy's picture

I have been somewhat familiar with the work of HCB but after this video i realize his views on photography resonate mine to a great degree. I am floored. Buying his books asap.