Henri Cartier-Bresson

‘What matters is to look, but people don’t look. Most of them don’t look. They press the button. They identify. But to seek the meaning beyond this or this…. Very few do it.’ (Henri Cartier-Bresson, ‘L’amour tout court’, 2001)

I do a lot of nature photography and the ‘justification’ I often read from other photographers is environmental preservation. I think it’s fashionable to say, but how many are really creating according to that idea. Is it not recording of an (rare) animal and behaviour, or the discovery of exceptional places, in various lighting situations? For me being in nature is more an escape from everyday life. I feel freedom during my shoots in nature.

‘I always feel like I’m a prisoner on the run.’ (Henri Cartier-Bresson, ‘L’amour tout court’, 2001)

I have to be on the move and discover: viewpoints, animals and animal behaviour. It’s about the hunt for new experiences.

‘It’s always luck. It’s luck that matters. You have to be receptive that’s all.

Like the relationship between things, it’s a matter of chance, that’s all. If you want it, you get nothing. Just be receptive and it happens.’

(Henri Cartier-Bresson, ‘L’amour tout court’, 2001)

I treat every shoot as an expirement. If I go out to make good pictures I come home with little.

According to Henri learning to look is just about doing it and it’s important to love. In the case of Henri I think he meant people, cities and streetlife, In my case it’s my feeling of freedom. I get that by being in nature and by traveling. Henri doesn’t like to travel, but he likes to be in another country and observe. I also observe. I observe people, but I don’t intrude. I usually don’t get my camera out to steel a moment. It’s an objection I have to overcome if I ever want to do serious street photography. I don’t like if people take candid pictures of me, so I usually don’t create them of others.

‘It happens in less than a fraction of a second. You must feel it intuitively. Sensitivity, Intuition, A sense of geometry. Nothing else.’ (Henri Cartier-Bresson, ‘L’amour tout court’, 2001)

When I go out and make a good picture I feel it’s good the moment I make it. Of course I still make my technical mistakes. I think the main components of a picture are form, balance and light. Geometry is balancing the form. With different light I aim for different forms and balance.

‘I go for form more than for light. Form comes first. Light is like a perfume to me.’ (Henri Cartier-Bresson, ‘L’amour tout court’, 2001)

I see a lot of similarities in the life philosophies of Henri and mine. I have to read more about him.

‘What is important is what is next. Erase the past.’

‘What about the future?’

Question yourself. It’s essential’ (Henri Cartier-Bresson, ‘L’amour tout court’, 2001)


Henri Cartier-Bresson L’amour tout court Part 1-5 (2001) At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6l09YEeEpI&index=1&list=PL707C8F898605E0BF (Accessed on 28 April 2017)


Part 2 Project 2 Research point

15 December 2013 – 1/640 sec f/8.0 135mm

The first successful picture I ever created with a DSLR with shallow depth of field. The main reason I succeeded was that I shot from very nearby with a tele-lens. The result was pre-visualised. The shallow DOF adds to the intimacy. Although I have upgraded my camera and lens in the mean time, which has its obvious effect on picture quality, I still love this picture. It remains one of my favourites.

Ansel Adams, Fay Godwin, Mona Kuhn, Kim Kirkpatrick. The DOF they choose for their pictures fitted with the subjects and the messages they wanted to convey. Ansel was a master, especially in post-production. I’m intrigued by the pictures of Kim. It’s like the sharp subjects and vague environments get whole new meanings, an alternative construction of reality.