Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson is widely considered to be the father of photojournalism. As a student, he first studied music before being introduced to painting first by his uncle and later at the Lhote Academy, the studio of the Cubist painter Andre Lhote. This strict training would later help to inform issues he discovered within his own work, but at this time his interests were largely influenced by the Surrealist movement and he socialized in this circle prior to leaving for the University of Cambridge.

A turning point in his development as a photographer came from his meeting Harry Crosby who shared his interest in photography. An intense affair with Crosby’s wife Caresse ensued, but ended following Harry Crosby’s suicide. Cartier-Bresson sought escape ion the Cote d’Ivoire where he contracted a near fatal case of blackwater fever. On his return to France, he was inspired by Martin Munkacsi’s photograph Three Boys at Lake Tanganyika, and gave up painting for photography, using a Leica camera. In the early 1930s Cartier-Bresson met David ‘Chim’ Szymin (Seymour) and Roberta Capa with whom he would found Magnum Photos following service, capture and escape during World War II. His involvement with Magnum Photos took him to India, China and Indonesia and these experiences led to the publication of his book The Decisive Moment . In later life Cartier-Bresson returned to painting, rarely taking out his camera. He passed away in 2004 and is survived by his second wife Martine Franck, also a Magnum Photographer, and their daughter.