Famous Photographers

Alfred Eisenstaedt
Alfred Stieglitz
Annie Leibovitz

Ansel Adams
Brett Weston
Brian Duffy
Dorothea Lange
Eddie Adams
Edward Weston
Helmut Newton
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Jerry Uelsmann
Joe Rosenthal
Louis Daguerre
Man Ray
Margaret Bourke-White
Mary Ellen Mark
Robert Capa
Robert Mapplethorpe
Steve McCurry


Famous Photographers

Because of artists like Henri Cartier-Bresson, we can now see photographic works as pieces of art, in a way that we never could before. He actually was a painter before he was a photographer. He had a natural love for painting that began in his childhood.

Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson

Cartier-Bresson entered a studio in Paris owned by Andre Lhote, who was not well known. He felt that this artist taught him to "read and write", and that his photographs came from his painting training. He started to feel discomfort when he thought of Lhote's artistic approach, but his training would enable him to confront and resolve any artistic composition and form problems. But he resolved them with photography.

In 1925, Cartier-Bresson attended Surrealist gatherings, even though he was not of their generation. He said that he learned from them, not by their painting, but by the role of intuition and spontaneous expression.

Cartier-Bresson would grow up in an environment that was stormy, both culturally and politically. He did not feel that he was able to express these feelings in his paintings of the time. He actually destroyed many early paintings, because he was frustrated by his own experiments.

The then-artist lived in Africa for a time, and he felt that he needed to tell the villagers' stories with an instrument that was faster than the brush. He began shooting photographs, and only seven of them have survived to this day. He also continued painting. After suffering from black water fever, he returned home to France.

The introduction of the Leica camera, which was small and light in weight, was a positive influence for Cartier-Bresson. He felt that it expressed what he saw with his eyes. He also felt that he could give meaning to his world, by capturing what he saw in the viewfinder. He traveled in Mexico, Spain and Eastern Europe, living among the poor peoples he found. André Pieyre de Mandiargues, a writer of the time, said that Cartier-Bresson had a genius for photography.

The former artist's photographs of the time showed his love of life's "infinite sensual complexities". Many of his pictures were taken on the street, and dealt with the everyday lives of people around him. The first exhibition of his work, in 1935 in Mexico, was so successful that he had another at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York.

Cartier-Bresson was quite fascinated with moving images. Friends and admirers of his work felt that his bursts of photographic creativity were simply intervals between other artistic expression forms. He went on to study film under Paul Strand in New York. He may have been trying to use film to bring to life even more quickly the world's scars.

The artist-turned-photographer was also an actor in 1939, when Renoir had him act so that he would be able to understand the point of view of being in a film, as well as making them. He did determine that his talents were best utilized by taking photographs. He joined the French army as a photographer in World War II and was in a prison camp for three years. He escaped on his third try, and traveled back to Paris, where he joined the resistance. He photographed the occupation of the Nazis and the countries' ultimate liberation. He is considered by many to be the father of modern photojournalism. His works will live on as an expression of what he saw in the world of his time.

The Rumor Mill

The rumor mill has turned up a few dirty little secret about Henri Cartier-Bresson. For instance not only is he considered to be the father of modern photojournalism, but also the father of the TV game show "Family Fudd" starring Elmer plus wife and kids.


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