great photography is certainly one of those artforms that we are most compelled by at colectivo futuro. today, technology has blessed us with access to cameras that are affordably priced and offer great quality, mobile applications that make our photos look cool, and a full set of editing options to make us look like the picassos of modern photography. at some point in our lives we always fall -at least for some time- to the sport of taking pictures of our surroundings, sharing moments with our peers, or simply compiling memories of our daily lives. today photography has become one of the easiest-to-make forms of visual art, but it takes a lot of creativity and awareness to shoot images that in time will say more than a thousand words; and that’s when a photographer becomes an artist. one of such artists was french photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Cartier-Bresson is considered one of the founding fathers of contemporary photojournalism and candid photography. through many years working out on the streets of the world, he helped develop what many of us know as street photography and life reportage, both styles that have influenced generations of professional and amateur photographers; even creating a niche market of its own. during his long and fruitful career, mr. bresson travelled the globe documenting some of the most influential events in modern history: the spanish civil war, the liberation of Paris in 1944, the fall of the Kuomintang to the communists in China, the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, and the Berlin Wall, just to name a few. he is also responsible for documenting portraits of Camus, Picasso, Colette, Matisse, Pound and Giacometti. despite having documented such historic events and characters, we feel compelled to say that our favorite works of his are those that capture ordinary people during their everyday activities.
Cartier-Bresson was born in France and showed an appreciation for the visual arts of painting and photography from an early age. at the age of 19 he began studying painting with Cubist painter and sculptor André Lhote. he later chose photography as his sole medium of expressing his ideas. to put it in his own words, he stated “I suddenly understood that a photograph could fix eternity in an instant”. during WWII, he joined the French Army as a corporal in the film and photo unit. he later became a prisoner of war and managed to escape on his third attempt, traveling back to France and recording enough material for his documentary Le Retour (The Return) about returning French prisoners.
In spring 1947, Cartier-Bresson, with Robert Capa, David Seymour, William Vandivert and George Rodger founded Magnum Photos; an international photographic cooperative owned by its photographer-members. he was initially assigned to India and China where he covered Gandhi’s funeral in India in 1948 and the last stage of the Chinese Civil War, gaining international recognition. from China, he carried on to the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), where he documented the gaining of independence from the dutch. Cartier-Bresson retired from photography in the early 1970s, and by 1975 no longer took photos other than an occasional private portrait.
we’ll leave you with a famous quote from Henri and a few of our favorite images of his vast portfolio below…
“Photography is not like painting, there is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative”