Famous Photographers Tell How: Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson needs no introduction to anyone even remotely interested in photography. He is the photographers photographer and has been called the greatest photographer of the twentieth century, although HCB would call bull shit on the greatest photographer accolade. When HCB talks about photography photographers listen and listen you should to HCBs wise words.

This interview with Henri Cartier-Bresson has been taken from the 1958 Famous Photographers Tell How LP.

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One thing that I have learned…

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

Quality comes from quantity.

Wether or not this is true for anyone else is debatable. I know my first 10,000 photos were undoubtedly my worst, they were terrible and utterly forgettable. The point is that it takes a lot of practice to become any good at photography and The only way to get good is to make photos… lots of photos.

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Photographers make photos

A painter starts with a blank canvas and paints a scene with their brushes and paints. An author starts out with a blank page and writes a scene with their pen and paper or computer. A photographer starts out with a complete scene, the photographer’s job is to put a frame around that scene and make a photo with the camera to give a sense of order and meaning to what they see. Or do photographers simply just take a photo of what they see?

‘You don’t take a photograph, you make it.’
– Ansel Adams

Is there a difference between ‘taking’ and ‘making’ a photo? Indeed there is. I have thought a lot about taking photos and making photos, this is my conclusion.

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G’day, Ello world!

I decided to leave Facebook years ago and I don’t miss it at all not one little bit, I have never regretted my decision to leave not for a nanosecond.

Yesterday I signed up to a new social network, Ello.

I’ll be posting photos and other stuff exclusively on Ello, stuff you won’t find on this web site, Flickr, Twitter or anywhere else except on Ello. Hit me up and come say hello on Ello!

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If you found this post useful, interesting, or inspiring please support me by becoming a Patreon supporter so that I can keep making useful, interesting, and inspiring stuff. You can also support me by sharing this post on your favourite social network using the buttons below.

One thing that I have learned…

Photography is, amongst other things, about learning, and over the 13 years that I have been shooting I have learned a lot about photography. Most of the things I have learned I have learned in the last year since I have gotten more serious about my photography. Learning is also the main reason I started this blog, to share what I have learned about photography.

One thing that I have learned… is a series about things that I have learned about photography or through photography. This first post in the series is about Only showing your best photos.

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Inspiration

What’s the most important thing for a photographer to have besides a camera? It’s something that you need more than gear, more than the best camera, more than knowledge and know how. It’s something that the best photographers had/have loads of. Without it your photos are destined to be mediocre snap shots at best. It can be found (and lost, and found again) everywhere in anything and at any time, yet it can still remain illusive. It’s inspiration.

“Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.” – Man Ray

Motivation isn’t inspiration. A lot of people confuse motivation with inspiration which is easy to do, the English language can be a confusing and terribly tricky thing sometimes.

Motivation is encouragement to do something you don’t want to do.

Inspiration is encouragement to do something you do want to do.

We need to be motivated to do things like go to work. If we don’t go to work we won’t get paid, if we don’t get paid we can’t afford to pay the rent or mortgage, we won’t be able to afford to eat and survive or participate in things we enjoy. Photography motivates us to go to work so that we can pay the rent or mortgage, so that we can eat, so that we can survive, and most importantly pursue our passion.

Inspiration is what we need when we want to do something but don’t know where to start. But where do you get that inspiration from?

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Dangerous ideas

I love the internet, I also hate the internet, it’s as wonderful as it is terrible. The best thing about the internet, that it is open and democratic, is also the worst thing about the internet.

Sometimes I loath the openness and democracy of the internet because it allows any one to publish anything, the only requirement is a PC with an internet connection. The low barrier for entry means that some really awful things are born on the internet. There are also some truly great web sites, tools and information available on the internet. Even with all of the terrible web sites with their click bait and trollish comments the internet is still a wonderful place.

The problem with most photography web sites, at least the ones I have come across, is that they are poorly designed (and I use the word designed very loosely, designed is a strong word for some web sites), they are full of click bait articles that are poorly written, and trollish comments. What’s even worse than bad design, poor prose, and trollish comments, is that a lot of photography web sites peddle the message that gear and Photoshop will make you a better photographer. The idea that gear and Photoshop can make you a good photographer is a dangerous idea.

Lets get one thing straight, gear and Photoshop will most definitely not make you a better photographer.

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Street photography documentaries

Before I was a photographer I don’t notice how many other people also had a camera. When I got a camera and became a photographer I realised just how many people have cameras too. Welcome to the “frequency illusion,” or the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, the term for the phenomenon where by once you notice something you start noticing it more frequently. I experienced the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon again after I watched Everybody Street, since then I have discovered a bunch of other street photography documentaries. The below documentaries are the best documentary films that I have discovered about street photography and street photographers. I’d recommend watching them all.

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How many Punch Cards does it take to store one RAW file?

James "Jingles" Ingles - untitled - 28/10/2014

Memory cards, USB thumb drives, and HDDs are common storage mediums familiar to anyone that has used a computer. Some people, particularly younger generations, have probably never even heard of Zip Drives, Jaz Drives, Floppy Disks (8”, 5.25”, and 3.5”), Mini Disks, SuperDisk (AKA LS-120) or Magnetic Tape. Most people that used those storage mediums have most likely forgotten about them, with the exception of magnetic tape which is still in use today. Does anyone even remember the Magneto-Optical Drive? All of the afore mentioned storage mediums are nothing but casualties of progress relegated to the annls of history.

Most older storage mediums offer only a fraction of the storage space that we enjoy to today. In fact some old storage mediums wouldn’t even be able to hold a single RAW file produced by modern cameras. For example the capacity of the humble 3.5” Floppy Disk was only 1.44MB. You would require 20 3.5” Floppy Disks to store a single 28 MB RAW file.

If you think 20 3.5” Floppy Disks is a bit excessive to store just one single RAW file then stop and ponder how many Punch Cards it would take to store a single RAW file.

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