The Decisive Moment. Photographs and text by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Afterword by Richard Simon. Simon & Schuster, New York, in collaboration with Editions Verve, Paris, 1952. 158 pp. First edition. Small folio. Hardbound with decorated paper jacket and laid in 12 pp. caption booklet. Library protected jacket. Cover/jacket illustration by Henri Matisse. 126 black-and-white gravure reproductions.
One of the holy grails of photobook collecting, containing images chosen from the whole of Cartier-Bresson's career prior to the 1950s. As Martin Parr and Gerry Badger write in The Photobook: A History, vol. 1 this renowned volume is more than a monograph; "it has overriding unifying factors that elevate it into a great photobook. The first is the concept of the 'decisive moment' itself, which defines the elegance of Cartier-Bresson's imagery: the instant when all the elements in the picture-frame come together to make the perfect image--not the peak of action necessarily, but the formal peak....The Decisive Moment is one of the greatest of all photobooks.
Very Good in a Very Good dust jacket. Internally clean and bright; Jacket with slight losses and tears of 1/2"-1"; 1" loss to backstrip; jacket split along spine most of its length along upper joint; Damp upper board edge effecting front and rear preliminary pages; inner pages and plates are unaffected; front and rear covers of caption booklet separated; all pages present.