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Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908-2004)


Also known as:  Bresson, Henri Cartier

Known as the father of photojournalism, Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French photographer who helped develop the street photography style, which is also known as the life reportage style.

Cartier-Bresson began his career in art as a painter studying in the Lhote Academy in 1927 under André Lhote, an experience that forever influenced the composition of his photography. He then studied at the University of Cambridge, and then served in the French Army before having an affair and going to Africa for a time. When he returned to France, he turned from painting to photography. He was inspired by the Surrealists’ approach to photography. He was also particularly interested in taking photos on the street to capture the world how it actually was. During WWII, he served again in the French Army and was captured and sent to a prisoner of war camp. He managed to escape on his third attempt and began working for the French underground, taking photos of the occupation of France and helping others escape. Later, he went all across the world covering stories, including Ghandi’s funeral and the last stage of the Chinese Civil War. In 1952, he published his book The Decisive Moment.

Cartier-Bresson won many awards for his work, including the Overseas Press Club of America Award and the Hasselblad Award. His influential works can be seen in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City along with a host of others.

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