Henri Cartier-Bresson: 1908 – 2004

Born on August 22, 1908, in Chanteloup, Seine-et-Marne, near Paris, Henri Cartier-Bresson is considered by many to be the father of modern photo-journalism.

In 1927, Cartier-Bresson studied painting at the Lhote Academy in Paris under Cubist painter and sculptor André Lhote. He turned to photography in 1931 when he acquired a Leica 35mm camera – a camera that, unlike its bulky predecessors, was ideal for capturing action.

Cartier-Bresson preferred an unobtrusive (“a fly on the wall”) approach to photography. This approach helped to develop the real life reporting (candid photography), that has influenced generations of photo-journalists.

Cartier-Bresson traveled the world photographing “the times” in Russia, China, Cuba, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Turkey, Europe , and the United States.  He photographed events such as the funeral of Gandhi, the fall of Beijing, and the liberation of Paris. Cartier-Bresson’s main body of work however was of human activities and the institutions of  society. In every country, he sought out market places, weddings, funerals, people at work, children in parks, adults in their leisure time, and other every-day activities.

During the Battle of France, in June 1940 Cartier-Bresson was captured by German soldiers and spent 35 months in prisoner-of-war camps doing forced labor under the Nazis.  He escaped in 1943 and began working for MNPGD, a secret organization that aided prisoners and escapees. At the end of the war, Cartier-Bresson directed “Le Retour” (The Return), a documentary on the repatriation of prisoners of war and detainees.

In 1947, along with Robert Capa, David Seymour, William Vandivert, and George Rodger, Cartier-Bresson founded the co-operative agency “Magnum Photos”. The aim of Magnum was to allow photographers to “work outside the formulas of magazine journalism”.

In 1952, Cartier-Bresson published a book of his photographs entitled ” Images à la sauvette” (images on the run),  with the English title “The Decisive Moment”. In the 1960′s he created 16 portraiture stories entitled “A Touch of Greatness” for the the London magazine “The Queen”. The stories profiled personalities such as Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Miller, Robert Kennedy and others.

In 1968, Cartier-Bresson left Magnum Photos and photography in general, focusing once again on drawing and painting.  He retired from photography completely by 1975 and had his first exhibition of his drawings at the Carlton Gallery in New York in 1975.

From 1975 on, Cartier-Bresson continued to focus on drawing. In 1982 he was awarded the Grand Prix National de la Photographie in Paris, and in 1986, the Novecento Prize in Palermo, Italy.  In 1988, the Museum of Modern Art in New York held an exhibition of his photographs – “Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Early Work”.

In 2003, Cartier-Bresson, along with his wife Martine Franck and their daughter Mélanie, launched the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, to provide a permanent home for his collected works and as an exhibition space for other artists. Cartier-Bresson died peacefully on August 3rd 2004 in Montjustin, Provence. He was buried in the cemetery of Montjustin, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France.

For a complete biography of Henri Cartier-Bresson, visit the HCB Foundation or for a good source of photos visit Magnum Photos.

Related Books:
Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century
The Mind’s Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers

An Inner Silence: The Portraits of Henri Cartier-Bresson

Sources: Met Museum, National Press Photographer’s Association, HCB Foundation, Wikipedia

paintings: art paintings, portrait paintings and oil painting

ART-O-MAT: Pocket Art

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Many art lovers simply don’t have the budget to purchase original works of art.  Enter the Art-O-Mat – re-purposed cigarette vending machines that have been converted to sell pocket size original works of art.

North Carolina artist Clark Whittington created the first Art-O-Mat in 1997 which he showed along side his paintings at a solo show at a local cafe. The machine sold his black & white photographs for $1.00 each. The art show was scheduled to close, however, the owner of the Penny Universitie Gallery, Cynthia Giles, loved the Art-O-Mat and asked that it stay.  It remains in its original location to this day. Following the show, the involvement of other artists was necessary for the project to continue. Giles introduced Whittington to other local artists and the group “Artists in Cellophane” was formed.

“Artists in Cellophane (A.I.C.), the sponsoring organization of Art-O-Mat is based on the concept of taking art and “repackaging” it to make it part of our daily lives. The mission of A.I.C. is to encourage art consumption by combining the worlds of art and commerce in an innovative form. A.I.C believes that art should be progressive, yet personal and approachable.”

The Art-O-Mat dispenses original art-works and may include paintings, photographs, sculpture, collage, illustration, handmade jewellery, textile arts, and more. There are 82 machines in at least 28 American States, one in Quebec, Canada, and one in Vienna, Austria. There are around 400 contributing artists from 10 different countries currently involved in the Art-o-mat project.

For more information, to get involved, or to find an Art-O-Mat near you, visit Art-O-Mat.org.

took ashevilleartworks

paintings: art paintings, portrait paintings and oil painting