Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Henri Cartier-Bresson: Double Or Quits

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Sifnos, Greece, 1961 
© Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

I've been in Paris for work over the weekend but managed to see the two Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibitions that are currently on show in the city - Henri Cartier-Bresson à Vue d'œil at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP) and Henri Cartier-Bresson: L’Imaginaire d’Après Nature at the Museum of Modern Art.

There is plenty of overlap in the two displays, explained away by the former being a selection from their 300-strong collection and the latter being a set curated by Cartier-Bresson himself in 1975. The Museum has the benefit of a few larger prints and extra space, while the MEP has some less well-known images to tempt you in (not to mention the added bonus of some Saul Leiter images in the "recent acquisitions" display in the basement...). Regardless of the relative merits, what really struck me is the way in which HCB really drew the best from black and white - the shot above is almost no longer a scene from a Greek village but a beautifully arranged collection of bold abstract shapes. It is not only a moment caught but also a scene filtered down to it's very essence.

1 comment:

  1. This is beautiful. I recognized it as a Greek village immediately (I'm Greek). I really enjoy this piece :)