The 20th century was the century of the image - and Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) was the eye of the century.
To tell his life story and to interpret his work means first and foremost to write the history of his vision.
As he traversed the century, the eye of this clear-sighted wanderer focused on the fascination of Africa in the 1920s, the tragic fate of the Spanish Republicans, and the victory of the Chinese communists.
Cartier-Bresson the photographer was always on the spot, the great pickpocket of life's historic events as and when they were happening.
He was also assistant to Jean Renoir on three major films.
He was an artist who wanted to be an artisan, but he also founded Magnum, the most famous of all photographer's agencies.
It was he who fixed in our minds the features of his famous contemporaries: Giacometti and Sartre as characters from their own works, Mauriac mysteriously levitating, Faulkner, Camus and countless others captured at the decisive moments in portraits for eternity. Henri Cartier-Bresson confided in Pierre Assouline over a long period of time on the subjects of his youthful devotion to surrealism, his unending passion for drawing, the war and the prison camps, the friends and the women in his life.
He even opened up his archives. Assouline gives an acute and extremely interesting account of Cartier-Bresson's life and philosophy in this vivid portrait of the man in all his complexity - his charm, inquisitiveness and arrogance, but above all, his brilliance.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 280 pages, 25 Illustrations, black and white
- Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
- Publication Date: 01/08/2005
- Category: Individual photographers
- ISBN: 9780500512234
- Paperback / softback from £11.55