Reflections on Photography

London street at nigh
London street at nigh

London street at nigh

Reflections on Photography by Henri Cartier-Bresson

street_photo_cmll“Manufactured” or staged photography does not concern me. And if I make a judgement it can only be on a psychological or sociological level. There are those who take photographs arranged beforehand and those who go out to discover the image and seize it.

For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant wich, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. In order to “give a meaning” to the world, one has to feel oneself involved in what one frames through the viewfinder.

This attitude requires concentration, a discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry -it is by great economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression.

One must always take photographs with the greatest respect for the subject and for oneself.

from The mind’s eye.
Writings on Photography and Photographers by Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908–2004).

Do you agree with Cartier-Bresson?. Maybe you agree on some things. I like his words but I am not so strict in some ways. I recognize that the great French photographer had thought a lot about his photography, its justification and meaning. And his photography was consistent with the way he saw it. But I admire a lot of people who “take photographs arranged beforehand”. In photography, I think there is room for all styles and I love a good photography whatever style. We’ll talk more about it soon.

Today’s photography it is not an easy photo, it isn’t a beautiful flower or a wonderful landscape, but for me it could be a good photo, if it weren’t for the average photographer. ..


11 Comments on “Reflections on Photography

  1. I like your image Cosme, it suggests lots of things and has a wonderful vintage ’40’s feel to it – real film noir! I can see Cartier Bresson’s point and why he felt as he did but I think the marvel of photography is that it can be equally valid as an art form or as a means of recording events more or less artistically. I don’t see any need to limit it’s application. I suppose he was a product of his own time just as we are of ours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jane, I’m glad you like the photo!
      I completely agree with you. I think Cartier only defended the type of photography that he liked and which greatly emphasized.

      Liked by 1 person

    • could I just ask you BCL if you know the page that the quote starting “manufactured or staged photography does not concern me” if you know it please get back in touch , love your work btw :))


  2. I think you can “…take photographs with the greatest respect for the subject and for oneself” independent of whether you arrange it beforehand or just click when an opportunity arises.

    You see a lot of photos that don’t look as if they required much planning ahead, but you know someone has spent a lot of time waiting / planning / arranging things to get that perfect, beautiful shot. Then you see a another picture taken spontaneously with a mobile phone that can express the same feeling and it can be equally beautiful / meaningful.

    I agree with janemorley – your picture has a nice vintage feel, and I like it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. to arrange…to me is being able to see beyond the moment…a skill I don’t have. I find joy through being present to the moment…to the various shades of light…patterns…uniqueness… As I listen to those whose creative endeavors are drawn toward painting, some see beyond and arrange via colors, lines, tones, composition while others move from moment to moment through the use of colors, lines, tones, composition. Same process…different medium. The images to the right on your blog (Twitter) are beyond beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Cosme,
    you have quoted one of my favourite photographers and I agree with him up to a point. We must remember that Cartier-Bresson was a predominantly a candid type photographer and a pioneer of street photography. As he says, “manufactured or staged photography does not concern me”. His attitude holds true for the type of work he was creating.
    Great post.


  5. You are a master of available light photography and today’s image is a good example of the craft. I’m a great fan of Cartier-Bresson and I think his dislike of ‘posed’ photography comes from his time as a prisoner of the Germans in WW11 where he was regularly photographed whilst grouped with other prisoners.
    I think one of his most encompassing quotes was’ For me photography is to place the head, heart and eye along the same line of sight’.
    Anyway, how can one not heap praise on two of his most famous instantaneous images, the boy with the two bottles taken on Rue Mouffeard, Paris in 1952 and the man stepping over the puddle taken behind the Gare Saint-Lazare, Paris in in 1932.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks creakingbones!! I didn’t know this episode in his life as prisoner of the Germans. It is certainly possible that influenced their thinking.
      Those photos you mention are awesome.


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