Cartier Bresson – The First Street Photographer?

Henri Cartier-Bresson

French, b. 1908, d. 2004.

“The photograph itself doesn’t interest me. I want only to capture a minute part of reality.”


My first impressions of Bresson is that his photos are of very high contrast between blacks and whites and his photos aren’t to capture a beautiful view or a sunset but the capture a moment, a space in time where something is happening. 

The photo above is the one I have chosen from Bresson’s work. The reason I have picked this image is because it’s very intriguing for me the timing you had to have when capturing this photos is amazing. But other than the timing the image itself really interests me because of the birds and the women walking up the stairs as she’s disturbed them. The contrast of the photo is very good as well it really balances it out. 

Bresson worked from the 1920s to the late 1980s. America is the 1900s was a very interesting and different country than it is today. John F. Kennedy became president and Martain Luther King Jr. became one of America’s black heroes and the big apple of New York was getting bigger by the day. This helped Bresson dramatically because of the movement and population of New York. 

This photograph makes me think of the time I was in a big city and I was walking in the subway station and up steps like that. It brings me back to a joyful time. But I can understand how this photo may make people with differ. with high contrasting shades and the from area where it is captured I think people could see different. 



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