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. Inscribed on title page, "Henri etc. for___________/tres cordialements.' Playfully added to the title in Cartier-Bresson's own hand, the prefix 'in' and suffix 's' to form '(in)decisive Moment(s)'. Small folio. Hardbound with with cover design by Matisse. Matching dust jacket. 12 pp. caption booklet laid in. 126 gravure reproductions.
A rare signed copy of one of the über-classics! The Decisive Moment contains images chosen from the whole of Cartier-Bresson's career prior to the 1950s. As Parr and 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."
A crafty enthusiast has put the entire book online here. Poor quality scans, but a nice reference nonetheless.
See MoMA's online exploration of the work of Cartier-Bresson, a tie-in with the retrospective currently on view, HERE.
Very Good+ with professionally restored binding (glue darkening slightly) and new endpapers; slight bumping to lower corners; typical foxing to preliminary pages (internally clean and bright). Dust jacket Very Good; 2" loss to lower portion at spine; wear to edges with some small edge tears; age-darkening and spotting about typical.