Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
Large and impressive! One for the coffee table, but make it a strong one.
on 29 June 2012
This is a very large and heavy book. Had it been hardback, it would have been yet heavier.
Anyone familiar with some of Cartier-Bresson's photography will probably find several that are very familiar and quite iconic. There are also many that are less known, but collectively it is probably the largest collection of Cartier-Bresson's work in a single volume. The only colour images noted are of his artwork and of a wartime ID card, which is a strange inclusion. Everything else is monochrome!
Some of the images are presented in a very large scale and are therefore spread across opposing pages. However, several smaller images are also spread across both pages, and that is less understandable. In many instances, the images are presented several per page and that is a benefit in that it allows a far wider spectrum of images than would otherwise be possible.
The images were taken over many years and are presented in no particular order; more recent may be adjacent to another much older, portraits with photo-reportage and so on. There are even a few landscapes although they were less his forté than portraiture and photo-reportage. Also included are some of his drawings and paintings, which many would be surprised to know that he did, but he was originally trained in art and adopted photography at a slightly later date. As a retrospective, it is about as complete as you will ever see and the art and skill of the man is evident throughout. His ability to 'see' photographically is perhaps unsurpassed and may remain unmatched.
There isn't much textual content, and the book does not really need it. The explanations are mostly contained within the images. The technical data is unimportant, not included and may not be known, even to the photographer himself. I know that he preferred to use Leica cameras, but possibly not exclusively later in his life. At the end of the day, the equipment used is irrelevant to the final image, and it is the image upon which Cartier-Bresson's reputation was built. Additionally, there is a comprehensive list of exhibition catalogues where his work was featured, a massively complete bibliography and a diary-calendar of significant events, exhibitions and such during his lifetime.
A vital addition to anyone's collection.