Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment

An 18-minute film produced in 1973, with commentary by the photographer himself

From Open Culture:
“In photography,” wrote Cartier-Bresson, “there is a new kind of plasticity, the product of instantaneous lines made by movements of the subject. We work in unison with movement as though it were a presentiment of the way in which life itself unfolds. But inside movement there is one moment at which the elements in motion are in balance. Photography must seize upon this moment and hold immobile the equilibrium of it.”

Cartier-Bresson would often say that his greatest joy was geometry. When he was 20 years old he studied painting under the cubist André Lhote, who adopted for his school the motto of Plato’s Academy: “Let no one ignorant of geometry enter.” Cartier-Bresson took an early interest in mathematically sophisticated painters. “He loved Paolo Uccello and Piero della Francesca because they were the painters of divine proportions,” writes Pierre Assouline in his book, Henri Cartier-Bresson: A Biography. “Cartier-Bresson was so immersed in their works that his mind filled with protractors and plumb lines. Like them, he dreamed of diagonals and proportions, and became obsessed with the mystique of measurements, as if the world was simply the product of numerical combinations.” [Read More]

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