Henri Cartier-Bresson, photographer: biography and curiosities

Henri Cartier-Bresson, photographer: biography and curiosities

Henry Cartier-Bresson contributed to the birth of photojournalism as an art form. Let's discover the life of this great protagonist of the twentieth century

Henri Cartier-Bresson was a great French photographer and a pioneer of photojournalism. In fact, Cartier-Bresson has traveled all over the world with his camera, totally immersing himself in the contemporary world. Considered one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century, he followed and documented many of the greatest world events, from the Spanish civil war to the Chinese revolution, from the coronation of George VI to the French revolts of 1968. And he photographed the main protagonists of the last century, from Che Guevara to Mahatma Gandhi to Marilyn Monroe.

Born in Chanteloup on August 22, 1908, Henri Cartier-Bresson was educated in Paris, where he developed a great love for literature and the arts in general. After studying painting in Paris and Cambridge, in the early 1930s, he traveled extensively in Africa to hunt antelopes and wild boars. Here he discovered the interest in nature photography. Upon returning to France, he purchased his first Leica 35mm, a camera whose simple style and surprising results can help define the photographer's work. For the rest of his life, in fact, the approach to photography remained the same.

He despised the augmented reality image, the result of artificial light, dark room effects and cutouts. The naturalist who housed him believed, in fact, that all changes had to be made at the moment of shooting. His equipment was often only natural light. The rise as a photographer was very rapid, but in 1935 Henry Cartier-Bresson decided to devote himself to cinematographic film, becoming assistant to director Jean Renoir. His life, however, underwent a dramatic turn in 1940 after the German invasion of France.

Henry Cartier-Bresson enlisted in the army, but was soon captured by enemy forces and imprisoned for 3 years in a prison camp. So he created a photographic department for the resistance and, after the end of the war, the United States commissioned him a documentary on the return of the French prisoners. After years of works of art, successes and global recognitions, in 1966 he put the camera back and returned to his first loves: drawing and painting. In 2003, in order to preserve his works, he founded the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation. He died in Provence on August 3, 2004.

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