Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Recreating History with Henri Cartier-Bresson

    Henri Cartier-Bresson was famous french street photographer who was born in Chanteloup, France on August 22, 1908. Receiving his education in Paris, Henri had a love for literature and the arts. When he was older he studied painting and attended Cambride University to study, in greater depth, literature and the arts. Art was his life. It wasn't until a trip he took to Africa in 1931 that his passion for photography began. Returning to France he purchased his first 35mm Lecia, a camera that played a huge role in defining his work. He mainly worked with a 50 mm lens and believed that all edits should be done when an image is made. It didn't take long for people to start to notice Henri's work and he quickly because famous. He had already shown his work in major exhibits by the mid 1930's. Some of those places were New York and Madrid. During one of his exhibits he met another photographer by the name of Paul Strand who inspired him to leave the photography world and return to France to work on filmmaking with Jean Renior. It didn’t take long for him to realized there was no place for him in directing feature films, his heart was in showing real life. In the 1940's during the German invasion Henri was captured and put into jail. After three years in prison he successfully escaped and went back to photography and film work. The United States hired him to direct a documentary of the return of French prisoners. Henri loved to travel the world and had many opportunities to do so by covering world events like the Spanish War and Chinese revolution. He photographed Gandhi and Marilyn Monroe and founded Magnum Photos. He's been published in Life and Vogue, among many others, as well as publishing a book of his own. He truly changed the way photojournalism was perceived and turned it into a form of art. In 1966 Henri Cartier-Besson left Magnum and went back painting and drawing. He didn't talk much about his life as a photographer. He was happy living out the rest of his life sketching landscaped and figurines. In 2003 a foundation was created to help preserve his work. Shortly after this Henri Cartier-Bresson passed away on August 3, 2004. 
Personally, I love street photography. Looking through Henri Cartier-Besson’s work was inspiring. His work feels spontaneous and real. On google images (henri cartier-bresson photos) you can see countless photos that Henri Cartier-Bresson's took during his life that are flat out amazing. Below are just a few that I particularly loved . I chose to recreate one of his photographs and feel I walked away from this experience a better, more appreciative photographer.    

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