Cartier-Bresson - Why Are These Great Photos?

wxwaxwxwax ImmoderatorRegistered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
edited January 8, 2006 in Technique
I am a great admirer of the work of Henri Cartier Bresson. But sometimes, as with the work of other photographers, I fail to see what is special about some of his shots.

Here are a couple that I do not understand. Could someone with a more refined aesthetic than mine help me understand what makes these two shots worth exhibiting?


Juvisy_lg.jpg

marne.jpg
Sid.
Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
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Comments

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,496 moderator
    edited June 10, 2004
    wxwax wrote:
    I am a great admirer of the work of Henri Cartier Bresson. But sometimes, as with the work of other photographers, I fail to see what is special about some of his shots.

    Here are a couple that I do not understand. Could someone with a more refined aesthetic than mine help me understand what makes these two shots worth exhibiting?


    Juvisy_lg.jpg

    marne.jpg
    Waxy -

    You are sure to stir up a hornet's nest here!Laughing.gif I agree that I see many published pictures by famous photgraphers and sometimes I just fail to appreciate or see what is so special about the picture in question.

    I have the new volume Henri-Cartier Bresson The Man, The Image, and the World - and I have seen these images before also and like you I sometimes scratch my head and go - So.... what makes this image so noteworthy. But then I have real trouble some times with street photography in general. Some street photgraphy is great, but some I think is awful.
    Some of Diane Arbus works just leaves me cold - maybe I am not sensitive enough or something. Maybe some of our posters can fill us in.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • tmshotstmshots Big grins Registered Users Posts: 59 Big grins
    edited June 11, 2004
    Could it be that he is foreign? And euro trash eat up everything that is from some guy foreign? I could be wrong. Its like a painting or sculpture. It wasnt really the piece but the artist that gained the recignition. Just a thought.
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Registered Users Posts: 6,511 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2004
    tmshots wrote:
    Could it be that he is foreign? And euro trash eat up everything that is from some guy foreign? I could be wrong. Its like a painting or sculpture. It wasnt really the piece but the artist that gained the recignition. Just a thought.

    I actually like both these shots quite a bit. They aren't my favorite CB shots, but they make sense within his body of work and visual vocabularly. I've known the shot of the people sitting on the bank from the rear for as long as I can remember (and since I'm 52, that's 30+ years). This is the first time I've seen the shot with the girls in the ballet dresses.

    So let me try to explain what I like about these pictures. As I said, these aren't my favorite CB photos. But they fit into his body of work and use his personal vocabulalry. You know who the photographer is right away. If they were shot by someone else, they would be derivative. Have you ever loved a writer so much that you read all his/her books, starting from the best/most famous and proceeding into the minor work and finally scraping the bottom of the barrel for obscure work published posthumously? It's like that. A Raymond Chandler story is still Raymond Chandler and has his voice even if it's Philip Marlowe's Last Case instead and not "The Long Goodbye". These photos make sense to me because I know many other greater images of his and because he has a style that spans all his work. These photos work for me because I know other images of his. I dug around online for examples. It's a little frustrating, the image I most wanted to find is "Frist Flames on Gandhi's Pyre", but it doesn't seem to be online. I have it in a book, perhaps I'll try to scan and post.

    http://www.photology.com/bresson/Images/Foto25.jpg

    Foto27.jpg

    Foto3.jpg

    Foto4.jpg

    Foto19.jpg

    Foto22.jpg

    Foto24.jpg
    If not now, when?
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2004
    Thanks Rutt, that makes sense. Please do scan the Ghandi photo, I'd love to see it.

    I think HCB is one of my favorite photographers, not that I'm well educated about such things. I love how he uses light, shadow, shapes and people. Some of the shots you posted are the ones that first got my attention, his street scenes in particular.

    Aquila_lg.jpg

    Hyeres_lg.jpg

    And he loves to capture people in motion - with great humor sometimes, as in this shot.

    Giacometti_lg.jpg


    I accept your take on the shot I was questioning. I wonder if others would instead defend them as individually worthy? If so, I'm still curious as to why: I would consider their response a learning experience.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • damonffdamonff film Registered Users Posts: 1,894 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2004
    Rutt is correct. Being able to capture a moment in time with a signature is difficult. It requires an understanding of your surroundings. If four photographers take a photograph of Justice Souter and one is able to look at one and say, "Rutt took that" then Rutt is a pretty damn good photographer. It's not necessarily about what you like or think is good (though it is that), for that is always subjective. It's about the creative process; it's about the soul of the work. Some people say that this is not art or that is not pretty or this genre doesn't suit me...but it doesn't matter. The artist does not create for you, the artist creates because he must. If a photograph of a sunset is oh so trite in your opinion, cool! Look at what you like. Many people hated Picasso's work and still do. Some people think he's trash yet think that Harry Potter books are great. I disagree. I'm not right. No one is right and that's why what we do here and there is so cool. It's for us. If people like it then all the better. And if many people like it then we become famous (what's the definition Rutt?) It's there. Look at it. Look at something else. Keep looking. Do it for you.
  • WolfWolf Major grins Registered Users Posts: 154 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2004
    Damon,

    I think you nailed it on the head. Your statements ring true on all accounts of art! Thanks for communicating it so eloquently.
  • damonffdamonff film Registered Users Posts: 1,894 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2004
    Thanks Wolf. I like how this forum is growing...
    Wolf wrote:
    Damon,

    I think you nailed it on the head. Your statements ring true on all accounts of art! Thanks for communicating it so eloquently.
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,496 moderator
    edited June 11, 2004
    rutt wrote:
    I actually like both these shots quite a bit. They aren't my favorite CB shots, but they make sense within his body of work and visual vocabularly. I've known the shot of the people sitting on the bank from the rear for as long as I can remember (and since I'm 52, that's 30+ years). This is the first time I've seen the shot with the girls in the ballet dresses.

    So let me try to explain what I like about these pictures. As I said, these aren't my favorite CB photos. But they fit into his body of work and use his personal vocabulalry. You know who the photographer is right away. If they were shot by someone else, they would be derivative. Have you ever loved a writer so much that you read all his/her books, starting from the best/most famous and proceeding into the minor work and finally scraping the bottom of the barrel for obscure work published posthumously? It's like that. A Raymond Chandler story is still Raymond Chandler and has his voice even if it's Philip Marlowe's Last Case instead and not "The Long Goodbye". These photos make sense to me because I know many other greater images of his and because he has a style that spans all his work. These photos work for me because I know other images of his. I dug around online for examples. It's a little frustrating, the image I most wanted to find is "Frist Flames on Gandhi's Pyre", but it doesn't seem to be online. I have it in a book, perhaps I'll try to scan and post.

    Foto25.jpg

    Foto27.jpg

    Foto3.jpg

    Foto4.jpg

    Foto19.jpg

    Foto22.jpg

    Foto24.jpg
    HCB was a photojournalist was he not - so these images should be evaluated in that context and as they were printed in the magazine medium - They were probably never meant to be exhibited as seperate individual art images I suspect. altho some of his work certainly deserved to be seen that way. Just maybe not the ballerinas. I kind of like the people on the bank of the river, but I wonder if theri backside is the best approach. I think this was shot as part of a series of articles about a new law in France requiring vacation time for the laboring classes.

    I can see how there is a consistency in his work - all shot with a Leica rangefinder with a 35 or 50 mm lens most likely. Most by available light. Almost all of people - everyday people, famous people, people of various cultures - all grist for the printed magazines of the 30s, 40s, and 50s - like Life magazine.

    And like Wxwax said - some of his street scenes - especially with stairs - are very interesting.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • lynnmalynnma Moddess Emeritus Homosassa, Florida (Paradise)Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 5,163
    edited June 11, 2004
    damonff wrote:
    Rutt is correct. Being able to capture a moment in time with a signature is difficult. It requires an understanding of your surroundings. If four photographers take a photograph of Justice Souter and one is able to look at one and say, "Rutt took that" then Rutt is a pretty damn good photographer. It's not necessarily about what you like or think is good (though it is that), for that is always subjective. It's about the creative process; it's about the soul of the work. Some people say that this is not art or that is not pretty or this genre doesn't suit me...but it doesn't matter. The artist does not create for you, the artist creates because he must. If a photograph of a sunset is oh so trite in your opinion, cool! Look at what you like. Many people hated Picasso's work and still do. Some people think he's trash yet think that Harry Potter books are great. I disagree. I'm not right. No one is right and that's why what we do here and there is so cool. It's for us. If people like it then all the better. And if many people like it then we become famous (what's the definition Rutt?) It's there. Look at it. Look at something else. Keep looking. Do it for you.
    Beautifully said Damon..you are so right. I often see a photograph that inspires, or moves me very much, I can't really put into words why it moves me so much... I think mostly it's realizing it's what moved the photographer, that he was able to capture that fleeting moment and seeing life through his or her eyes, and yes, this forum is really blossoming into something special is'nt it.
    Lynn
  • mercphotomercphoto Bill Jurasz Registered Users Posts: 4,550 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2004
    Why I like the 2nd photo
    wxwax wrote:
    I am a great admirer of the work of Henri Cartier Bresson. But sometimes, as with the work of other photographers, I fail to see what is special about some of his shots.


    marne.jpg
    I didn't much like the first photo. But I like this one quite a bit. The only explanation I have is that I feel myself being pulled down the bank and into the boat. Like I'm falling downhill into the picture. And I think it is the fact it causes an emotion in me that I like the photo.
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2004
    damonff wrote:
    Do it for you.


    OK, I understand what you're saying. I was hoping there was some objective way of analysing the photos that would help me understand them, and in turn help me become a better photographer.

    Art is an individual expression, but each medium has an underlying set of rules. Truly accomplished artists know how, when and why they choose to break these rules.

    But those of us just learning a medium still need to be instructed on the rules. And I was hoping that someone versed in the medium could help me understand the appeal of the shots, in the context of what makes an effective photograph. Again, the goal being my growth as a photog.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • DoctorItDoctorIt vrooom! Administrators Posts: 11,947 moderator
    edited June 11, 2004
    i see what you mean waxy. The first photo isn't even in focus. ne_nau.gif
    Erik
    moderator of: The Flea Market [ guidelines ]

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,496 moderator
    edited June 11, 2004
    DoctorIt wrote:
    i see what you mean waxy. The first photo isn't even in focus. ne_nau.gif
    Actually a number of H CB's images are not in focus - and on purpose no less!lickout.gif
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2004
    pathfinder wrote:
    Actually a number of H CB's images are not in focus - and on purpose no less!


    I noticed that, thought it was interesting. I didn't realize he did it on purpose. (Hehe, that's what I meant about breaking the rules.)
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • damonffdamonff film Registered Users Posts: 1,894 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2004
    I know what you mean about breaking the rules after knowing them, Sid, and I agree. It was said that once when Picasso was a little boy, he painted a bird so realistically that his father thought it was a real bird...
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2004
    what a great thread
    i'm diggin this whole discussion. why are they good? because hcb thought they were good. depending on when he put out a photo, it could have been a shot of a box of rocks and folks may have thought it the best thing going. a lot of shots that a photographer takes get put in to the category of great, as is the entire body of his work.

    that said, i'm not sure if i like these two so much, vs other shots of his i love very much. the first one, has classic composition but then the whole thing is at an off-angle, and to me, distracts. i just don't get grabbed by the first one. the second one, i'm drawn in, i feel like i'm welcome to step into the boat if i like, but first i'm going to have some wine and cheese mwink.gif

    i study hcb's work on a regular basis. he, along with elliott erwitt, is one of my favorite photographers, and i admit that i try to emulate certain element of each in my own work.
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Registered Users Posts: 6,511 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2004
    If we are going to discuss HCB, I'm going to have a hard time controlling myself. He really is my all time favorite and I have 3 rare books of his photos and a few originals. I've spent a lot of time thinking about his photos and what makes them work. So I think I have to make (maybe more than one) longish post on the topic. Before I start, though, I want to make clear what I'm trying to do and what I'm not trying to do. I am trying to communicate what I love about one of my favorite artists. I am not trying to defend him; he doesn't require it. My defending Henri Cartier-Bresson is like Bullwinkle the Moose defending Einstien.

    So anyway, for beter or worse, here is what I wrote almost a year ago after my wife game be "The Decisive Moment" for my birthday.

    I spent some time looking at Cartier Breson pictures in a book this weekend. Of course, the images are so famous and I was sure I knew them well. But it was really interesting to look carefully after a couple of years of spending a lot of energy on photography.

    Besides just being great instead of mediocre, his work is very different than mine in some concrete ways:
    1. Uncropped 50mm lens images. No head and shoulders portraits. The closest he ever gets is full figures. Often there is a lot of background. He can handle much greater complexity of composition than I can. And it works really well, even in portraits (Truman Copete, Matisse...) I looked at his picutres and imagined the damage I would have done to the same images by cropping them...
    2. Grainy black and white. Well, I'm not so sure what I think about this. It works for him, no doubt, but his work has a certain integrity that springs from the time he started to work and the materials availabl then. Would he have used color if he started working today? I imagine so. I think it's more challenging to make great color pictures because there is an additional dimension in which things can go badly wrong or spectacularly right. (See below.)
    3. Some out of focus pictures are great. His images are so strong that even bad focus can't ruin them. And I don't mean the famous cases where he was using slow shutter speed to blur the image and create a sense of motion (Outside the Gare St. Lazare), but just plain bad focus in a shot that would have been improved by sharp focus. Yes, it would have been better in sharp focus, but it is great nonetheless. (Mexico City, 1932, e.g.)
    He was a equipment minimalist and this stands in contrast to photographers of his day as well as those of today. He didn't use medium format. He loved the size and portability of his Lieca with the folding 50mm fast lens. I think he was the first great professional to embrace 35mm. He accepted a quality compromise in favor of portability. I imagine that if he started working today, he might choose a point and shoot camera. In a few years, I'm sure his choice would be digital. Something very small and light with quick response time and reasonably good control over focus, DOF, and exposure. Probably 35mm rangefinders still rule on these properties, but digital is almost there andis sure to get there. Resolution isn't important to his work (in contrast to, say, Adams or Wegee or Margaret Bourke White.)

    One thing that was true of Cartier Bresson is that he was very prolific in
    printing his work. I remember that at least up until 1970 one could order a
    print from him of any of his images and it cost about $75. I think there was some sort of egalitarian theory at work. Consequently, of all the major photographers of the 20th centry, Cartier Bresson's work has the lowest prices at auction. I think he would have embraced modern electronic distribution and printing if he worked today.

    The book I was looking at is called "The Decisive Moment". That really says it. Looking at the work of other great photographers is also humbling, but none so much as Cartier Bresson. I can imagine taking one of Avedon's portraits given the opportunity (but certainly there are things in his work I can't imagine doing.) Similarly for many other great photographers: Bourke White, Adams, even Man Ray. In fact my uncle turns out to have shot an Adams. I mean that he took his medium format camera and stood in the exact right spot at dawn and captured a scene that Adams had shot. Well, it wasn't an Adams, but it wasn't as far off the mark as my trying to shoot a HCB image would be. Anyway, there isn't a single Cartier Bresson moment that I can imagine capturing.

    Since I wrote this, I have read the essay that HCB wrote for "The Decisive Moment" and so I can be more specific about focus and about color than I was a year ago. Here is what HCB wrote about focus:
    I am consantly amused by the notion that some people have about photographic technique -- a notion which reveals itself in an insatiable craving for the sharpness of images. Is this the passion of an obsession? Or do these people hope , by this "trompe l'oeil" technique, to get to the real problem as those of that other generation, which used to endow all its photographic anecdoes with an intentional unsharpness such as was deemed to be "artistic."
    As a piece of prose, I'd say that wasn't exactly "tack sharp", eh? What I think he's saying is that sharpness isn't the only thing and that images can work if they aren't sharp just as they can also work if they are sharp. So of the best work we see on dgrin isn't that sharp and some is, so I'd say that if we accept my interpretation, he is right about this.

    HCB devotes an entire section to color, enough that I am not going to type it all in. Here are the key selective quotations:
    1. Black and white photograpy is a deformation, that is an abstraction. In it all values are transposed; and this leaves the possibility of choice.
    2. At present [1952[, color film emulsions are still very slow. Consequently, photographers using color have a tendency to confine themselves to static subjects; or else to use ferociously strong artificial lights. The slow speed of color film reduces the depth of focus in the field of vision in relatively close shots; and this cramping often makes for dull composition....
    3. We are only in the infancy of color photography. But this is not to say we should take no further interest in the question or sit by waiting for the perfect color film -- packaged with the talent necessary to use it -- to drop in our laps. We must continue to feel our way.
    4. To really be able to create in the field of color photography, we should transform and modulate colors, and thus acheive liberty of expression... [There is a lot of interesting artistic color theory here and I will quote more if there is interest.]
    5. ...the real difficulty [of improvisational photography] is that we are unable to control the interrelation of colors within the subject. It wouldn't be hard to add to the list of difficulties involved, but it is quite certain that the the development of photography is tied up with the developement of this technique.
    Execpt for the interesting color theory part, which I elided, I think HCB was saying that color photography was going to be hard and that he wan't ready to use it but that he knew it was the future. On the way to saying this, he said some things that we on dgrin know to be true by direct experience. The B+W conversion PS assignment of a month ago proved 1. There are a lot of different ways the same color image can be converted to B+W and we necessarily make a choice when we do so. Andy's work is proof enough of 4.

    OK, enough for now. I have some concrete comments about the images that Sid initially posted, but I'll save them for now. Be warned, I have a credible threat. I have a hair trigger and I can easily unleash another torrent of words on this topic.
    If not now, when?
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2004
    Great post!

    Please do unleash another torrent. And especially WRT the images in question. This is excellent, just the education for which I was hoping. thumb.gif
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2004
    Andy wrote:
    elliott erwitt

    Wow, more great stuff! I'd never heard of him before. I see the similarities with Cartier Bresson. Thanks for naming him... more to aspire to, and a new perspective on shooting.

    Also, either he and HCB had great patience, or they occasionally placed people in their shots. ne_nau.gif
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • ginger_55ginger_55 Crazy Creek Babe Registered Users Posts: 8,416 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2004
    Why are they so good?
    The guy did a pretty credible job of capturing the feel of his neighborhood, IMO.

    Yes, I do know more than that sounds like, but I am first and foremost a fan of
    "the moment" and photojournalism. I go so far as to be a great fan of snapshots.

    Now that Ansel Adams guy, he just took pretty pictures of pretty things. Never have understood the brouhau about that stuff.

    (Have a lot going on right now, no time)

    ginger
    After all is said and done, it is the sweet tea.
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Registered Users Posts: 6,511 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2004
    ginger_55 wrote:
    The guy did a pretty credible job of capturing the feel of his neighborhood, IMO.
    ginger
    Very wise words, Ginger. That's an important human point that I failed to cover with all my theory and techinque. It's such an important point that if you lose sight of it, you've lost sight of the artist altogether.
    If not now, when?
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Registered Users Posts: 6,511 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2004
    Some bad scans of some great images
    wxwax wrote:
    Great post!

    Please do unleash another torrent. And especially WRT the images in question. This is excellent, just the education for which I was hoping. thumb.gif
    OK, Sid, you asked for it (twice). But this time I'll try to use more pictures and fewer words. I have four Cartier-Bresson books:
    1. The Decisive Moment, 1952. This is a very rare book. Alibris has two for > $400 each. Amazon doesn't even know about it (but they do have a wall calander for < $15.)
    2. En Inde, 1985. This book collects images mostly from the time of Indian independence and separation. It is in print in English and Amazon has it under the title "Henri Cartier-Bresson In India" for $23 new and about $13 used. I don't have the English version and I'm not sure if it's exactly the same as the one I have, but probably close enough except the forward is likely to be translated into murky English instead of unreadable French.
    3. A propos de Paris, 1994. Also in print in English and about the same price as En Inde.
    4. Cartier-Bresson: Photographer, 1979. Also in print in English, but about $90 new and about $50 used. This is the big collection of the most important images that Cartier-Bresson fans should all own. It isn't quite complete, but it will last a lifetime.
    And so, what's my point? Most of the images that are easy to find online are from 1 and reprinted in 4. These are the images that people tend to know and they are masterpieces. But some of my favorites are from 2 and I couldn't find any of them online, though I looked pretty hard. So I went on a scanner expedition. I don't have a scanner, but a neighbor does, so we made some bad scans of the images in this book, including (Sid asked for it) the first flames on Ghandi's funeral pyre. Here it is:

    5053828-L.jpg

    And here are the rest of the images I scanned from this book:

    5053829-L.jpg

    5053830-L.jpg

    5053831-L.jpg

    5053833-L.jpg

    5053858-L.jpg

    5053878-L.jpg

    5053904-L.jpg

    Well, as you can see, it was a pretty low grade scanner effort. The images are seriously diminished from the prints in the book. I played a little with the curves to try to restore contrast, but the contrast in the book is very subtle and beautiful and it is lost here. There is no real wite point in the book; instead there is very light grey that I couldn't match. There is strong contrast in places and esquisite subtle detail on other parts of the same image. For example, the landscape with the mountains in the background is ravishing in the book. I like it better than any Adams landscape. But this just doesn't come through in the scan at all. What can I say, buy the book if you are a fan. It's cheap enough.

    And this brings me around to Sid's original post. The picnic on the river bank. Andy was just right in describing what makes this image work. The composition is a cone drawing you down to the river where the boat stops the eye with a strong horizontal line. But on the way, what about a glass of wine and a little lunch? But the image that I apologized for when Sid posted it is a shadow of the image in The Decisive Moment. It gets a double spread in the book and the book is a big book so the image is about 20 inches wide biy about 14. That's just a guess. I could go measure it, but you get the idea. It's a large print. And the B+W "conversion" is much more detailed and rich than the scan Sid posted. The glass of wine being topped off, the lunch, are right there, you don't have to look for them. In the book, I'd say this is a great photo and it works both as an abstract composition and as a "people in the neighborhood". Andy says Cartier-Bresson is one of his influences and you can sure see it here. Backs turned (Cartier-Bresson was a pioneer in this department.) Strong composition. Subtle human touches.

    I'm going to dig through my books for the ballet dress image and see what I think. In the meantime, I hope I've done right by my favorite photographer by posting scans bad enough that they'll never prevent anyone from buying the books.

    One last puzzling observation. Pirating the Avedon image of Betrand Russell was way easier than these Cartier-Bressons. The Avedon image is technically perfect in a classical way. Very very sharp and great contrast and detail. No problem. I just took a picture of it and bingo, I had a fine digital reproduction, good enough to post and make my point. The images above were so totally delicate and fragle that they defied me today. I'm sure there are people who could do this, but there really is no point in stealing these images when the books are so wonderful and inexpensive (except TDM, but you can get HCB: Photographer and be done with it, enough HCB for a lifetime.)

    Now I really am rambling.
    If not now, when?
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2004
    Good stuff, Rutt. Thanks for taking the trouble to visit a neighbor and make scans of the photographs. You've inspired me to buy some of these books. nod.gif

    Interesting that the picnic boat photo works better in a larger size. I should have thought of that. Thanks again, mate.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Registered Users Posts: 6,511 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2004
    wxwax wrote:
    Good stuff, Rutt. Thanks for taking the trouble to visit a neighbor and make scans of the photographs. You've inspired me to buy some of these books. nod.gif

    Interesting that the picnic boat photo works better in a larger size. I should have thought of that. Thanks again, mate.
    I dug around a little more in my photography books. It turns out I don't have "Henri Cartier-Bresson: Photographer", but rather, "HCB the man the image & the world, A RETROSPECTIVE". I don't reccomend this book. The images of India that I posted are not all in it and the ones that are, are not reproduced nearly as beautifully as in "En Inde". Many are smaller and don't work well compared to larger repros. I'm going to buy "HCB: Photographer" and I'll let you know what I think. For now, here is my reccomendation: buy "In India". It's in print as a paperback and inexpensive and the images not so famous but I think they are among his best. If you ever come accross "The Decisive Moment", and can afford it, buy it. You'll never regret that. I'll get "HCB: Photographer" and offer an opinion soon. Probably someone else already has this book and can offer an opinion? Andy? But I think you have to compare the anthology books carefully to the theme books that were collected and edited by HCB himself.
    If not now, when?
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2004
    thumb.gif Thanks. And I shall be surfing the internet looking for prints that I can frame. Prints that cost less than $5,000, I hope!
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • GREAPERGREAPER Major grins Registered Users Posts: 3,113 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2004
    ginger_55 wrote:

    Now that Ansel Adams guy, he just took pretty pictures of pretty things. Never have understood the brouhau about that stuff.

    ginger
    As a general rule I can understand the attraction to the street type, photojournanistic approach to photography. I can see the skill and art required to catch these moments in time that are in ways timeless and universal but also unique and will never be repeated. On the other hand most of these images dont do much for me as far as evoking real emotion. Perhaps it is because I love nature and find most people to be a pain in the @#$.

    Ansel Adams on the other hand strikes true cords in me and I love his work. They are far more than pretty pictures of pretty things. As you can see from my National parks gallery I have been to many of the places he is famous for photographing. I have shot the same mountain reflecting on the same lake. I have shot the same curving river with the same range in the background I think my photographs are pretty and the places certainly were. I have taken pretty pictures of pretty things, much like some of you have captured true decisive moments like the famous photographers you are discussing. In no way does my work compare with that of Adams.

    He was a master at capturing the Feeling, Power amd Majesty of these places. He didn't just put you in that place at that time. He created a time and place that you or I probably wouldn't have seen if our tripods were set up next to his. Just like you folks are discussing the works of the masters you enjoy, I can sit and study one of Adams' photos of a simple leaf marveling at the mood he creates with his perfect capture of tone and texture. Thats what the hub bub is about.

    The bottom line is we can all benifit from the study of all of these masters of the art we all enjoy even if the field they mastered is not our favorite. Thier skills at composition, tone, and the capturing of the right light at the right moment are worth intense study no matter what thier prefered subject.
  • damonffdamonff film Registered Users Posts: 1,894 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2004
    This one of Jawarharlal Nehru is INTENSE!!! Wondering how he's going to run things in the wake of Gandhi's death...the chaos...confusion. Really great.

    5053829-L.jpg
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Registered Users Posts: 6,511 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2004
    Damonoff, you need to order Cartier-Bresson In India right away. I was thinking about you when I was looking at the pictures in it. The scans can only give you the vaguest idea of how intense a book it is.
    If not now, when?
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2004
    GREAPER wrote:

    The bottom line is we can all benifit from the study of all of these masters of the art we all enjoy even if the field they mastered is not our favorite. Thier skills at composition, tone, and the capturing of the right light at the right moment are worth intense study no matter what thier prefered subject.


    Well said, Greaps. thumb.gif
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • damonffdamonff film Registered Users Posts: 1,894 Major grins
    edited June 13, 2004
    rutt wrote:
    Damonoff, you need to order Cartier-Bresson In India right away. I was thinking about you when I was looking at the pictures in it. The scans can only give you the vaguest idea of how intense a book it is.
    Hey Rutt. I'll get it when we get back to the States. One more month! It looks like my kind of book.
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