Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson was born in France in August 1908 and died in August 2004. He his famed for his candid photography [References 1 and 2].

He is one of the founding members of Magnum Photos [Reference 3].

The Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation was set up in May 2003 to preserve the work of Cartier-Bresson and his wife Martin Franck [Reference 4].

An analysis of some of Cartier-Bresson’s work can be found at PetaPixel [Reference 5] which contains links to two videos by photographer Tavis Leaf Glover.

A review of the republished version of Cartier-Bresson’s book The Decisive Moment can be found on The Guardian’s website [Reference 6].

Finally, Eric Kim has produced an interesting analysis of things that we can learn from Henri Cartier-Bresson’s when it comes to street photography [Reference 7].

Project 1: Activity, depth and distance

Exercise 2.2: People and Activity

Quite a lot of the photos I take of people are candid and not posed. I find that is when people are at their most revealing but can also be when they are most vulnerable. I’m sure that there will be plenty of opportunities to capture candid images of people at the ploughing championships.

Being able to take candid photographs of people requires being discrete if you want to catch them acting natural and not posed. This means having the minimum of equipment so that you aren’t swapping lenses all the time.

For the ploughing championships I took the minimum number of lenses. A 55-300mm lens to get close up to my subjects without needing to be in their faces and a 35mm prime lens for more distance shots.


  1. Wikipedia. Henri Cartier-Bresson. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_Cartier-Bresson Accessed: 22nd October 2017.
  2. Magnum Photos. Henri Cartier-Bresson Profile. Available at: http://pro.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&ERID=24KL53ZMYN Accessed: 22nd October 2017.
  3. Magnum Photos. History of Magnm. Available at: http://pro.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=MAX_2&FRM=Frame:MAX_3#/CMS3&VF=MAX_2&FRM=Frame:MAX_5 Accessed: 22nd October 2017.
  4. Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation. Available at: http://www.henricartierbresson.org/en/fondation/ Accessed: 22nd October 2017.
  5. Zhang, M. The Masterful Photo Compositions of Henri Cartier-Bresson. Available at:  https://petapixel.com/2017/08/16/masterful-photo-compositions-henri-cartier-bresson/ Accessed: 22nd October 2017.
  6. O’Hagan, S. Cartier-Bresson’s classic is back – but his Decisive Moment has passed. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/dec/23/henri-cartier-bresson-the-decisive-moment-reissued-photography Accessed: 22nd October 2017.
  7.  Kim, E. 10 Things Henri Cartier-Bresson Can Teach You About Street Phtography. Available at: http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2011/08/22/10-things-henri-cartier-bresson-can-teach-you-about-street-photography/ Accessed: 22nd October 2017.

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