Master Works

After much searching I found a copy of "The Decisive Moment", published by Simon and Schuster in New York and Editions Verve of Paris, in July 1952.  This has become an increasingly hard to find book.  I live in a small town, Monroe Washington, near Seattle , I received the book through an interlibrary loan from a small town library in Utah.  I love libraries, but that is another post.

This was and still is a watershed book.  The author, Henri Cartier Bresson, for all intents has become the father of modern photojournalism, a title I'm sure he is horrified to hold.  I wanted to read and look at this book again after a long time to absorb and study the  photographer that has so influenced my photography.  I had read the book long ago, and there is almost constant reference to it on many photography sites that deal in "Street Photography", and 35mm, read Leica photography.  We all have seen individual images from the book, but I wanted to see the entire body of work encompassed in the volume.  Many of these pictures have become the standard by which others are judged, rightly or wrongly.

I find the insights to be as valuable as the images;

"...Sometimes you light upon the picture in seconds; it might also require hours or days.
    But there is no standard plan, no pattern from which to work.
    You must be on the alert with the brain, the eye, the heart; and have a suppleness of body".

"...We photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished,
    there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again".

"...There is subject in all that takes place in the world, as well as in our personal universe.
    We cannot negate subject.  It is everywhere.  So we must be lucid toward what is going
    on the world, and honest about what we feel".

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

"...Black and white photography is a deformation, that is to say an abstraction.  In it, all the values
    are transposed; and this leaves the possibility of choice.

"...Technique is important only insofar as you must master it in order to communicate what you see.
    Your own personal technique has to be created and adapted solely in order to make your vision
    effective on film".

"...To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance
    of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression".
And to me.

composed and posted with