The weekend before last I took the opportunity to visit an exhibition of some of Henri Cartier-Bresson's work at the Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art, titled Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Man, The Image & The World. This was the first time that I'd had the chance to see a large collection of Bresson's work in print. It contained some iconic images that I'd seen before, and many that I had the pleasure of seeing for the first time. Viewing his work gave me pause to think about Cartier-Bresson's approach to the world of photography that he had such a big influence on. I thought I might jot down some of the impressions that the exhibition left me with.
- HCB's approach to street photography impressed from the point of view that he didn't just seek to photograph people in the street, but to use the street as a frame to his subjects. Being able to combine "the moment" and composition is a rare talent indeed.
- The standard focal length may be just, well...standard, but magic lies within that natural field-of-view.
- Focus and sharpness is a component of photography, but not always the most important component that it is often made out to be.
- One of the keys to making a timeless image is to make the image reveal when it was taken. An image of a flower (for example) may be beautiful, but an image that records people, in a place, at a time, is a piece of history.
- There's talent. There's opportunity. There's access. Combine all three and the result is a collection of work like this that will amaze and inspire. Worth the price of admission many times over.
After viewing the exhibition, with camera in hand, I tried to channel but a fraction of what I had just learned. I can only try...
Pen E-PL1 + Lumix G 20mm f1.7