Essay, Research Paper: Cartier - Bresson


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One of
this century’s icons in photography Henri-Cartier Bresson, thought to be the
Father of modern day Street Photography, transformed the field through his
concept of “the decisive moment.” He defined it as “the simultaneous
recognition in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well
as a precise organization of forms that give that event its proper
expression.” In other words, the dramatic climax of a picture where everything
falls perfectly into place. Bresson’s photographs excel in composition without
cropping his negatives, he had a unique ability to capture the fleeting moment
in which the subject’s significance is revealed in form, content, and
expression. Cartier-Bresson utilizes a Leica 35 Midtown Mediation camera, in
fact, he popularized this small, portable camera. The general format that he
incorporates is black and white silver gelatin in 11” x 14” and 16” x
20” sizes. The photograph, “Behind the Gare St. Lazare”, 1932, a man
jumping through a puddle, shows the French photographer’s ability to catch the
moment in which an event is about to take place. This picture is one of
intensity and depth, it brings out his creativity and ability as a photographer.
The contrasts of light-to-dark and dark-to-light is brought about all throughout
the image. His ability of self-expression and compassion for his artwork, is
what makes this photograph so full of life and passion. The style of the picture
is smooth, and soft, yet at some angles it looks harsh and full of shadows. It
brings out the complexities and intricacies that a photographer has to go
through in order to achieve such a perfect picture. He also makes popular the
saying “being at the right place at the right time,” because this is just
what this photograph demonstrates. It also catches the attention of any viewer,
just in the simple way the man is literally above the ground jumping over the
puddle, it’s an amazement to any eye. The sense of shadowing that pertrude
throughout the image, is in itself a great accomplishment. Bresson captivated
his audiences through his marvelous works, he captured the essential quality and
fineness of an object and multiplied it by 3. Cartier-Bresson was, and is an
incredible photographer that still fascinates and enchants his audiences with
such great works.

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