Notes on Henry Cartier Bresson

"To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms that give that event its proper expression.”

Used exclusively Leica 35mm rangefinder cameras w/ 50mm lenses
Occasionally used wide angle for landscapes
Significance: the new, small Leica allowed C-B to be discrete, capture moments as they unfold
Did not believe in using a darkroom
Has said that he does not like photography – likes the “art of instant drawing”
Worked in B&W
Photographed people – warmth, curiosity, empathy, sometimes humor
Impacted photojournalism
Never used artificial light (flash, flashlight)
"And no photographs taken with the aid of flashlight either, if only out of respect for the actual light.... Unless a photographer observes such conditions as these, he may become an intolerably aggressive character."
Unobtrusive approach let him keep photographs of assassinated Gandhi. Margaret Bourke-White of Life was unable to keep her photographs b/c her actions (flash, large camera) were considered disrespectful.
Anonymity of small camera
Essential b/c he could overcome unnatural behavior of people who are aware of being photographed

Born in Chanteloup-en-Brie, Seine-et-Marne, France
Family lived in rich neighborhood in Paris
Significance: financial support was readily available
As young boy, owned Box Brownie, took holiday snapshots
Unsuccessfully tried to learn music
Started learning painting from his Uncle Louis
Began socializing with Surrealists at Cafe Cyrano while studying art, drawn to surrealism
Made the switch from painting to photography b/c of Munkacsi photogragh
Three Boys at lake Tanganyika
His idea of decisive moments has become the gold standard for photojournalists
Main influence of C-B on modern photojournalism