on 15 July 2011
Small but a photo on every page-few words, apart from n introduction. The photos do the talking
Nice quality paper and stitched pages give it a subtle, well made feel.
I bought the original run of this series some years back. The covers were gloss lamintated, black with a photo insert. So this is a redesign of a popular series on the masters/pioneers and early creatives.
on 13 October 2010
This little book is what expected to be: a collection of Cartier-Bresson's photos. It does not contain all, but a huge representative quantity, and quality as well.
If you'd like to have an idea of what a photographer did, this is your collection. It is a paperback edition, what means that it is cheap.
"It is putting one's head, one's eye and one's heart on the same axis." That was the essential insight of Henri Cartier-Bresson into the art of photography, and his was indeed an art. I have a British photographer friend who would quip: "the best camera is the one you have with you." And long before the ubiquitous cell phone, Cartier-Bresson always seemed to have his with him. Time and time again, he seemed to capture "the decisive moment," a phrase that he coined.
Cartier-Bresson lived almost a century, spanning virtually all of the 20th. A full and vital life. He is credited with "inventing" photojournalism. Capturing those spontaneous street scenes. During the Second World War he was captured by the Germans, in 1940, at St. Die, in the Vosges Mountains. He spent almost three years in forced labor, and many assumed he was dead. He emerged stronger, and with a sense of purpose; he founded the Magnum Photo Agency after the war. He also seems to have found his true love late in life, the essential "zest" in all things.
A fellow Amazon reviewer recommended the first volume in this Aperture Series, on Paul Strand, which I have now reviewed. When I realized that Cartier-Bresson was the second volume in this series, it was another essential purchase. Both volumes are superlative productions by the premier publisher of books on photography. There is very little narrative. The pictures speak for themselves, sometimes ambiguously, as is the master' style. The Aperture series provides a representative sample of the photographer's work. In this volume there are approximately 40 black and white photographs.
Some of his most famous photographs are missing, for example the ones of the authors Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre. Instead, I was surprised and delighted to see one of William Faulkner. There are also ones of the artists Henri Matisse and Paul Bonnard. By far though, most are the anonymous people from his street scenes. And these are located across Europe, as well as in China, India, Mexico and Africa. There is a haunting picture that captures the intense devotion of a young man as he kisses the hand of a cardinal in Montmartre, 1938 as well as a French working class picnic along the Marne River in the same year.
The French have an expression (don't they always!) that conveys two bodies deeply intertwined: "collé serré." That also seemed to be a passion of Cartier-Bresson, whose most famous one in that regard is of the American sailor kissing the woman in Time Square, in NYC, at the immediate end of World War II. (there are some stories that have indicated some "staging" went into that photograph.) In this volume, on page 33, there is a photograph that I had never seen before, that seems to brilliantly capture the concept of "collé serré. Two bodies truly intertwined, so that it is difficult to tell where one starts and the other lets off. It was taken in Mexico, in 1934. Who knows what, if any, staging went on with that one. I do know it is much more "inspirational" than a kissed cardinal's hand.
Another wonderful production from Aperture. 5-stars, plus.
on 4 February 2013
why' the main theme that runs through these fantastic photographs by a master, like real life paintings,great depth questioning life, i will always enjoy picking it up and just been taken away, as and when i pick it up and just flick to a page, you can only be delighted at seeing images that are profound, and they inspire me in my own photography