A collection of work worth capturing in print
I was 13 years old the first time I wandered into the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation in Paris; I had no idea it would lead to a lifelong passion. I was instantly fascinated by the frames before me, each filled with mesmerizing juxtaposition, tones, geometry and decisive moments. Since that day I have been a student of Bresson, mimicking his style in many ways.
Recently, “The Man, the Image and the World: A Retrospective” was published, a 432-page catalog offering the most comprehensive collection of work by one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. The works were collected and published, as well as shown at the National Library of France in Paris, in honor of the artist’s 95th birthday.
The book offers an opportunity to explore the entire span of Cartier-Bresson’s career, a 40-year period from the 1930s to the ’70s. The collection includes the first photographs taken by Cartier-Bresson, some of which have never been published, as well as rarely seen work from every period of his life. It also includes classic photographs, ones that have become icons in photography, and a unique look at a selection of his drawings, paintings and film stills. Plus, the book features photos of Cartier-Bresson himself in his youth, as well as his family, and the founding of Magnum Photos. There are also interesting and informative essays and quotes that characterize Cartier-Bresson’s style and philosophy.
Henri Cartier-Bresson saw the camera as an extension of his eye – nothing is cropped or manipulated; he recorded life exactly as it happened. Many of the frames show film sprockets, reminding the reader that every single photograph is a full 35mm frame just as it came from one of his Leicas. Cartier-Bresson was the innovator of “street photography,” a testimony to life exactly as it transpired around him. During his decades-long career, he worked all over the world and made stunning portraits of some of the century’s greatest men, including Matisse, Picasso, Truman Capote and Gandhi.”The Man, the Image and the World: A Retrospective” provides a significant look at a lifetime of achievement. This decisive collection of a master photographer’s work is an essential book for anyone interested in photography – for that matter, for anyone interested in the people, places and events of the past century. If you buy only one photography book this year, this should be the one.
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