Today marks the 110th Anniversary of one of the greatest of all photographers (and a personal favorite of mine): Henri Cartier-Bresson.
It also gives me the opportunity to highlight a publication I picked up a couple of months ago at the International Center of Photography: Henri Cartier-Bresson. Interviews and Conversations 1951-1998. It contains 12 interviews with the Master. As the foreword says:
Henri Cartier-Bresson often defined himself as a visual person. “I watch, watch, watch. I understand things through my eyes.” he wrote in 1963. Throughout his life, his preferred language was the image. He did take a lot of notes during his reporting and kept a constant correspondence with his family, but in the end he wrote little about his own photographic practice…it is in fact in his interviews that Cartier-Bresson’s liveliest thinking can be found. It is the one place where the photographer has indeed not been sparing with his words.
Most of these talks have not been reissued since their publication and are therefore difficult to find. They reveal a fascinating and passionate Cartier-Bresson, who talks about his photography, comments on the state of the world, and reflects on his path. Spread over nearly half a century, his word make it possible to perceive the evolution of the photographer’s thinking: he backs down from his comments, changes his mind, sometimes contradicts himself. The image that the interviews give of Cartier-Bresson is not frozen in legend, but on the contrary, alive and kicking.