Henri Cartier-Bresson: A Biography

Overview

“Will inspire fans and followers to rediscover its elusive subject’s remarkable oeuvre.” —Publishers Weekly
The twentieth century was that of the image, and the legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, born in 1908, was the eye of the century. Cartier-Bresson was always on the spot, recording historic events as they happened. His work focused on Mexico in the 1930s, the tragic fate of the Spanish Republicans, the liberation of Paris, the weariness of Gandhi a few hours before his assassination, and the ...

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Overview

“Will inspire fans and followers to rediscover its elusive subject’s remarkable oeuvre.” —Publishers Weekly
The twentieth century was that of the image, and the legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, born in 1908, was the eye of the century. Cartier-Bresson was always on the spot, recording historic events as they happened. His work focused on Mexico in the 1930s, the tragic fate of the Spanish Republicans, the liberation of Paris, the weariness of Gandhi a few hours before his assassination, and the victory of the Chinese Communists. It was he who fixed forever in our minds the features of famous contemporaries: Giacometti, Sartre, Faulkner, Camus, and others, their portraits captured for eternity at the decisive moment. An intensely private individual, Cartier-Bresson nonetheless took Pierre Assouline into his confidence over a number of years, discussing his youthful devotion to surrealism, his lifelong passion for drawing, his experience of war and the prison camps, his friends, and the women in his life. He even opened up his invaluable archives.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Often called the father of photojournalism, Cartier-Bresson tried to give up photography as a profession four times in his life, returning to his first love, painting, repeatedly-but he always kept his Leica in his pocket. The Frenchman captured the emotion and magnitude of some of the 20th century's most significant news stories by simply turning his camera away from the main event and into the crowd. This, too, is Assouline's approach to biography. Drawing on five years of conversations with his subject, Assouline presents not a chronological or critical accounting of events but a portrait, illustrated through descriptions of Cartier-Bresson's photographs (almost none of which are reproduced in the book) and summarized with generalizations of the artist's approach toward art and life: "His taste was classical: he needed that kind of order to counter the vulgarity of the world outside" or "In affairs of the heart, he was a seductive romantic." Energetic and informative passages describe Cartier-Bresson's years as a soldier and his travels to the Ivory Coast, China and India (where he photographed Gandhi just hours before his death). Despite its gaps-such as mere passing references to Cartier-Bresson's two marriages-this smooth hagiography will inspire fans and followers to rediscover its elusive subject's remarkable oeuvre. (Nov. 28) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Biographer Assouline, editor in chief of the French magazine Lire, met photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris in 1994, ten years before the artist's death at the age of 96. They spent more than five hours chatting, and although the intensely private Cartier-Bresson was set against the idea of a biography of himself, he continued to speak and correspond with Assouline through the coming years. Assouline analyzed Cartier-Bresson's oeuvre in great detail; studied the history of Magnum Photos, the photography cooperative Cartier-Bresson founded; and, using Cartier-Bresson's own reminiscences and insights, went on to write this biography of the only photographer whose work was included in E.H. Gombrich's classic, The Story of Art. Assouline notes that his goal was to devote his book "to every aspect" of his subject, and this he has achieved. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries. (Readers will want a book of Cartier-Bresson's photographs on hand-the 25 photos included here are mostly pictures of Cartier-Bresson and his family at home and abroad.)-Marcia Welsh, Dartmouth Coll. Lib., Hanover, NH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500290521
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 1/7/2013
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 482,059
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Pierre Assouline, a writer and journalist, has written biographies of Georges Simenon, Hergé, and others. He lives in Paris.

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