Henri Cartier-Bresson Interview

An early Master of Photoraphy, Cartier-Bresson, shares some insightful thoughts with Charlie Rose in this interview below. I confess to be a fan of Cartier-Bresson and not of Charlie Rose (nothing personal Chuck, just a style thing). Regardless, here ’tis:

Spotted this on originally on Alec’s blog a short spell ago.

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53 Responses to Henri Cartier-Bresson Interview

  1. fotoholik January 14, 2007 at 8:14 am #

    Huh – i tried to look at this, but Henry hardly says anything.

  2. Chase Jarvis January 14, 2007 at 10:19 pm #

    Hmm. Fotoholik, I can understand that he’s not exactly modern entertainment, but that’s actually a large part of what I find intriguing and insightful: the simplicity of his answers. Photo schools and art departments and photography seminars seem to me to often obfuscate the creative and photographic processes. Notice he doesn’t really “take the bait” of modern journalistic lines of questioning. I find beauty and wisdom in the simplicity of his answers – and the simplicity of his images. Take for instance when:
    1) he responds to the question about not cropping his photos with, “you should get it right the first time”
    2) he responds to the questions about when to take pictures by replying saying, “at the right time”
    3) he responds to the questions about how he knows what the right time by replying, when it “gives satisfaction to your eye”
    4) he says “I am an anarchist, fundamentally” and defines anarchism as “an ethic”.
    5) he says that he gets “nourishment for his being” by looking at good art.

    There is some wisdom and inspiration there, don’t you think?

  3. fotoholik January 15, 2007 at 10:36 am #

    Ok, on the first take, he just looked old to me and his answers not understandable. Now i looked again i don’t think that anymore. Still, he doesn’t volunteer much information and interview is difficult to watch. I agree on Charlie Rose though. He’s annoying.

    I must admit, although i have a book or two of Bresson’s, i am not his fan. I know he has his place in history, but many of his visual tricks are banal and today his photos are soooo… last century. :)

    Still, you managed to spark in me some long forgotten interest in bw masters. :) I’ll take a look into Kertesz and Brassai and Plachy again one of these days…

  4. Chase Jarvis January 16, 2007 at 10:37 pm #

    Right on Fotoholik. I know I said it first, but after your chiming in as well, I confess, I REALLY can’t bare to watch Charlie Rose. Arggg.

    And you bring up an interesting point with looking backwards at the masters and looking forward..to..well…the new. I’m right on par with you there – I really like to focus on foreward rather than back, or gasp, even the now. But having said that I’ve got a whole new love for visiting the roots every once in a while.

    And it’s good of you to recognize that, while you might not be Bresson’s fan, he clearly has a place in history. Just like the band Nirvana. You don’t have to love them, but it’s hard to carry on without acknowledging that they abruptly changed the music world and their sound infiltrated nearly all pop music immediately following them. Heck, it was all about Whitesnake and Skid Row before them for Pete’s sake!

  5. Rene Skrodzki January 20, 2007 at 6:16 pm #

    I found this to be interesting, I have just recently started looking at the work of the “Masters” and actually hearing how some of these men and women think and create is very inspirational. I agree with Chase on the whole school thing. I also spend to much time worrying about things they teach there. Knowing that sometimes you can just go with the flow or feeling is a great relief and helps. Thanks for sharing this video. On a side note, this Charlie Rose guy is well, almost unwatchable.

  6. Picture October 1, 2007 at 9:06 pm #

    To be fair Henri Cartier-Bresson was a tough interviewee and Charlie Rose seems to be trying really hard to illicit an “entertaining” response. Some of Rose’s questions seem to be recorded after the interview and then edited (badly) into the footage though, maybe that’s why he looks so awkward, he didn’t seem to know where to look at when asking his questions.

  7. Chad October 3, 2007 at 12:52 pm #

    Bresson is the Hemingway of photography, the Ansel Adams of the street. The places he shot and the time he shot them aligned to form something magical. His timing was seemingly divine. To have sat with Ghandi 30 minutes before his death? To have escaped the Nazi’s during WWII? He lived his images.

    What I see in Bresson is a ying yang of great sadness and childlike joy. It is the reason he was able to pull the trigger when he did. It is the reason he was there to look through the lens in the first place. It is the reason that he is worth admiring.

  8. Chase Jarvis October 4, 2007 at 4:30 am #

    Bliz: totally agree that Charlie blows this one – it’s clear he doesn’t know how to handle HCB. check out my comment ot fotoholik above. Agree?

  9. Chase Jarvis October 4, 2007 at 4:30 am #

    Chad: well said.

  10. Anonymous November 5, 2009 at 10:18 am #

    Oh my! this Charlie Rose is not the right person for that interview! He completely has ruined the interview!!!

    I'm so sorry Mr. Cartier-Bresson

  11. JW Slabbert June 21, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

    Great man. Humble and wise. Too bad about the interviewer…

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