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. Laid in 12 pp. caption booklet. 126 gravure reproductions.
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 far better than average copy; unusually bright clean boards with tight square binding; 1/4" tears backstrip at foot of spine; tiny nick to one corner; jacket is price-clipped, with small area of staining to front panel; 1/4" tear with some adjacent creasing lower edge of front panel; a few other small tears--all less than 1/2" at 'tips'. Caption booklet pristine.