Henri Cartier Bresson has always lived in Paris, a city that has nurtured his art throughout his career.
Influenced by surrealists artists
The importance of Paris in the life and work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the greatest French photographers of the 20th century is obvious. Throughout his career, Henri Cartier Bresson forged ties with a city where he has always lived and which has nurtured him artistically. After beginnings marked by the influence of photographer Eugène Atget and surrealist artists, Cartier-Bresson discovered himself as a long-distance traveler, with Paris as his home port. If the one that will be called “the Eye of the Century” chronicled major historical events that marked Paris, Henri Cartier-Bresson was also interested in the City of Light as a place of life, made of anonymous passers-by and ordinary moments of life. Clichés which also make it possible to restore and see again a vanished Paris, not unlike the work of Eugène Atget several decades earlier. Between documentary approach and poetic gaze, Cartier-Bresson’s photographs present us with an ode to the Paris of yesteryear – a journey through time in black and white.
The Paris of the margins
In this city, which he keeps rediscovering, it is first and foremost the human being that interests him. He seizes it in the street or during meetings. It also testifies to major current events such as the Liberation of Paris in August 1944 and May 68. It goes to the places of demonstrations as soon as it can. In Paris, as elsewhere, his camera does not leave him. Photographing is a breath, an affirmation, sometimes a protest. His Parisian images, which figure prominently in his work, bear witness to his wanderings but are also taken in the context of reports and commissions that are often unknown to the international press – Cartier-Bresson generally retains only one image of them in his books and exhibitions. This mosaic defines a stroller particularly attracted by the quays of the Seine and the Paris of the margins.
Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
79, RUE DES ARCHIVES