Henri Cartier-Bresson was born in Chanteloup-en-Brie just outside Paris in 1908 and during a career lasting over sixty years Cartier-Bresson has become one of the most influential photographers ever. His work is influenced by the Surrealists’ meetings he attended as a teenager. He took up photography whilst convalescing from a serious illness he picked up in Africa.
Between 1936 and 1939 he was an assistant to French film director, Jean Renoir but was drafted into the French army when war broke out and was later captured and held in a POW camp for three years. He escaped in 1943 and became a member of the French Resistance. Henri Cartier-Bresson’s career continued after the war focusing primarily on Europe and in 1954 he went on to become the first Western photographer allowed behind the Iron Curtain.
Henri Cartier-Bresson didn’t use flash or colour, what he sees is what we get in what he described as the ‘decisive moment’. In the early seventies Cartier-Bresson announced his retirement but his influence lives on and there are a number of events going on this year to celebrate his 90th birthday.
Books on Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson: Europeans by Jean Clair
Henri Cartier-Bresson in India Forward by Satyajit Ray Ahmedabad
Henri Cartier-Bresson: Photographer by Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson: Mexican Notebooks 1934-1964 by Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson and the Artless Art by Jean-Pierre Montier, Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson by Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson: A Propos De Paris by Henri Cartier-Bresson
Line by Line: The Drawings of Henri Cartier-Bresson by Jean Clair
The Hayward Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the Institut Francais, the Royal College of Art, and the Victoria & Albert Museum are all holding exhibitions of Cartier-Bresson’s work throughout 1998. Contact individual venues for information.