How Henri Cartier-Bresson has changed my life (for the better)
Everyone has an image that has changed his life. This is mine.
Henri Cartier-Bresson is a myth, a man that with his camera, and a sandwich in the pocket, can perform real magic. His approach to the subject is unique: he previews the scene, observes the passage of people into his frame, and next, when is satisfied, shots. All of this while time flows, without considering his presence.
Before approaching Street Photography I didn’t know him. I have to admit that this genre seemed for me, during my first steps as a photographer, a boring “hunting”, an aesthetic game where streets and people are linked to give life a series of images, rich in detail, but lacking in narration. How wrong I was!
My opinion changed a day of Settember (2018). I was navigating to search some street photography images on the Internet and, almost by chance, I sighted this photography: two men, apparently two old friends, take turns to see what’s behind a drapery. In the caption the name of the photographer: Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1932, Bruxelles.
What a shot! There was everything in that image: form, narration, and a mixture of irony and mystery.
Immediately I thought: what had attracted these men? And, how much time did they spend behind the drapery? Did they see an alien? A woman? Or a new building under construction?
Bresson has never revealed the mystery behind this image. I accepted that. It’s the game between the photographer and his public. Not everything must be said and any possible answer, even the most absurd, can make sense.
And that’s it that I love about this photograph. It hits me his capacity to tell a daily scene with a different eye, an eye capable to creates around her an ambiguous aura, so strong to make me jump out of my chair and make me think that maybe I have lost too many occasions in my short life as a photographer. The image goes beyond appearances and this is what makes her really special.
Since the vision of that image, I started to do Street Photography. Now I know that everything is possible in this context. I am sure that you too, in your heart, have an image that has changed your life. You just have to understand which is. Bresson has changed my life and for this, I will thank him forever.