Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French photographer, widely considered the master of candid photography and one of the major artists of the 20th century. His humane, spontaneous photographs helped establish photojournalism as an art form. He covered many of the world biggest events from the Spanish Civil War to the French uprisings in 1968.
His tool of choice was 35mm Leica, a camera whose simple style and stunning results would help define the photographer's work. For the rest of his life, in fact, Cartier-Bresson's approach to photography would remain much the same. He made clear his disdain for the augmented image, one that had been enhanced by artificial light, dark room effects, even cropping. The naturalist in Cartier-Bresson believed that all edits should be done when the image was made. Over the course of his long career he hauled his Leica around the world to document and show triumph and tragedy in all its forms.
In 1952 he published his first book "The Decisive Moment" ("Images à la Sauvette"), a rich collection of his work spanning two decades. The book cemented Cartier-Bresson as a photographer with a heart. "The Decisive Moment" has since influenced generations of photographers, while its English title defined the notion of the second when all of the compositional elements of a scene come into harmony. His good friend Henri Matisse created a special collage for the cover, adding more significance to one of the most influential (and yet hardest to find) photobooks. Its value as an out-of-print collectable has risen over the past few decades resulting in keeping this masterpiece out of the hands of many younger photographers that came after him.
Since its original 1952 release, the book finally has been republished after 60+ years. This new publication by legendary German publishing house Steidl — the first and only reprint — is a meticulous facsimile of the original book that launched the artist to international fame through the tightly edited image selection, a brilliant mix of street photography and reportage. Photos that, despite being perfectly composed, feel very alive 60+ years on and still carry the weight of its initial importance. Add it to your collection HERE.