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December 7, 2008



© Henri Cartier-Bresson (Pierre Bonnard, assis 'Deville' 1944)


Bonnard used to say “what are you after?.. why this instant?.. why press the shutter just then?”

I just answered “why did you just put this stub of yellow?”

He laughed. We knew sensibility cannot be explained.


© Henri Cartier-Bresson (Irene et Frederic Joliot-Curie, France, 1944)


The Curies had a sign in their door: “Enter without ringing”

I opened the door and this is what I saw.  I shot before greeting them.



© Henri Cartier-Bresson (China 1948, assignment for Life magazine. People in front of a bank building waiting for an emergency payment during the currency crash)


I am not into photography per se. I enjoy being there, recording… there, yes, yes.. no.. yes… finger on the shutter, hesitating… not shooting, but always there.

We steal, but in order to give.



© Henri Cartier-Bresson (West Germany, Berlin wall, 1962)


I never look for the historic shot.. It comes to me… You have to be there and grab it.

Be there. Don’t think. Forget yourself. Don’t search. […]

Don’t go after something. Let it come to you.

Be open, receptive. That’s why you must not think.



© Henri Cartier-Bresson (Francois Mauriac, 1952)


I once took photos of Mauriac. He said to me: “what should I do?”

Nothing.. nothing! Just be natural…

So, he said: “You’re really complicated.”


words & photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson


One Comment leave one →
  1. October 8, 2009 7:38 am

    after a long day, this was the most inspiring page to end it with.

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