Major Brief – The Decisive Moment

“There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative,” he said. “Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.”– Henri Cartier-Bresson

One of the most famous books within the history of Photography is the 1952 publication The Decisive Moment – or Images à la Sauvette in French.

Produced by French humanist photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, the publication was based on the 17th century quote by Cardinal de Retz, “Il n’y a rien dans ce monde qui n’ait un moment décisif”, which roughly translates to “There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment.” By allowing himself to apply this to his photographic style, Cartier-Bresson thus stated, “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.”

It has been said that the 158 pages, containing 126 photos and a 4,500 word philosophical preface, has since influenced a vast range of generations and photographers, thus becoming part of the world’s collective memory.

“Photography is not like painting” – Henri Cartier-Bresson


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