This week’s #Mondayphotopick is Henri Cartier-Bresson, who many consider to be the father of street photography. Bruk choose this weeks’s photographer as part of our circle. If you’d like to join in, write a blog post (or social media status) and share your favourite Henri Cartier-Bresson picture. Keep an eye out on Sunday for next week’s selection.
Who was Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson is known in many circles as the father of street photography. He was famous for shooting with a Leica and 50mm lens in 35mm black and white film (not that colour was around back then). He founded Magnum photos alongside Robert Capa and others in 1947. His most famous book is “the decisive moment” which he published in 1952. The term “the decisive moment” became a crucial idea behind street photography
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.
even if the decisive moment is a bit of a myth, the idea of a street photo capturing a moment of organisations of random form which create a beautiful composition is still key to street…[whatever street is anymore].
Henri’s is an essential photographer for all photographers to check out, especially for street photographers so he was a brilliant choice.
My Henri Cartier-Bresson Photo Pick
My selection is from Henri Cartier-Bresson’s trip to Valencia in 1933. This image is from the bull ring and has a lot of elements I like in Street images. Compositionally, there’s a frame in a frame with the square window the man is looking through, the contrast of circles and squares is really appealing as well. The depth of field (usually I am not so interested in Bokeh) works really well here as there is still detail in the figure in the background but the blur adds mystery and helps separate the elements. That mystery is magnified by the light reflecting in one lens of his glasses. There is great figure to ground between the different elements as well.
However, I really like this image because it has elements of mystery, and it is historical and timeless. If you’ve been to Spain, you’ll know the bull rings are much rarer now and you’d certainly not capture a moment like this. I think this is a sign of a great street photo, a timeless image.