On Site:Henri Cartier-Bresson – The Modern Century, MOMA

In Art Museum, Black and White Photography, Exhibits, Photographer on June 23, 2010 at 7:30 am


Henri Cartier-Bresson. Juvisy, France

A major retrospective of Bresson’s work closes June 28, so you still have time to see this “blockbuster” show. Decades of images are grouped by location and type: France, China, India, USSR, USA and some wonderful portraits.

The later work has been criticized for a lack of sincerity … while we see it at as a maturation of a major talent.

 The images that made him famous are here, the “decisive moment” of the puddle leap, the three ladies of Kashmir gazing across the landscape, his nude prostitutes and a sequence of Bankers Trust commercial photos that are revealing.

Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) is one of the most original, accomplished, influential, and beloved figures in the history of photography. His inventive work of the early 1930s helped define the creative potential of modern photography, and his uncanny ability to capture life on the run made his work synonymous with "the decisive moment"-the title of his first major book. After World War II (most of which he spent as a prisoner of war) and his first museum show (at MoMA in 1947), he joined Robert Capa and others in founding the Magnum photo agency, which enabled photojournalists to reach a broad audience through magazines such as Life while retaining control over their work. In the decade following the war, Cartier-Bresson produced major bodies of photographic reportage on India and Indonesia at the time of independence, China during the revolution, the Soviet Union after Stalin’s death, the United States during the postwar boom, and Europe as its old cultures confronted modern realities. For more than twenty-five years, he was the keenest observer of the global theater of human affairs-and one of the great portraitists of the twentieth century.

This exhibit has so many quality images, make sure you leave time for multiple viewings while you visit.

For more on this exhibit: MOMA

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