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 with cover design by Matisse. Matching dust jacket. 126 gravure reproductions.
Shown without dust jacket at right.
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."
See The Decisive Moment in its entirety on the Magnum Agency site.
Unusually clean boards tight binding and backstrip; lacking caption booklet; tiny splits at crown and foot of spine--less than 1/2"); lengthy inscription on front free-endpaper (from a class of students to a professor, dated 1962); two corners 'kissed' just sllightly; jacket in two pieces with only slight loss of about 1" - 1 1/2" at crown and base of spine; smaller chip upper edge of rear panel; a few small edge tears (less than 1"); 1/2" taped area (crude repair attempt).