The Decisive Moment.
Photographs and Words by Henri Cartier-Bresson.
International Center for Photograph,
Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) is one of the legendary figures of 20th-century photography and one of the founders of the celebrated Magnum photo agency. Cartier-Bresson's aim was to capture what he called the 'decisive moment' when the visual structure and the emotional resonance of the scene before him were in perfect accord. It was the camera's unrivaled ability to preserve such unexpected, fleeting occasions, he felt, that made photography the most exciting visual medium of his time.
Made in 1973 as part of a series organized by Cornell Capa, this audiovisual presentation provides a rare instance of the photographer, speaking fluently in English, offering succinct yet widely ranging observations on the nature of the photographic medium. His remarks are paired with many of his best-known photographs. Comparing photography in turn to a sketchbook, a psychoanalytical couch, a warm kiss, and a machine gun, Cartier-Bresson vividly conveys the medium's boundless possibilities and constant challenges, as well as its unique satisfactions.