Obsessed with Visual Pleasure

September 22, 2016 Henri Cartier-Bresson Photography

In 1971, photographer Sheila Turner-Seed interviewed Henri Cartier-Bresson. The transcript was long stored away in a time capsule, but was unearthed by her daughter in 2013. The New York Times Lens blog published it as a two-part series that I can’t recommend enough. Cartier-Bresson was a veritable quotation machine, seemingly putting out memorable sentences with every other answer. Here are some from Part 2 of the interview:

Freedom for me is a strict frame, and inside that frame are all the variations possible.”

Photography as I conceive it, well, it’s a drawing — immediate sketch done with intuition and you can’t correct it. If you have to correct it, it’s the next picture. But life is very fluid. Well, sometimes the pictures disappear and there’s nothing you can do. You can’t tell the person, Oh, please smile again. Do that gesture again.’ Life is once, forever.”

The difference between a good picture and a mediocre picture is a question of millimeters — small, small differences — but it’s essential. I didn’t think there is such a big difference between photographers. Very little difference. But it is that little difference that counts, maybe.”

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