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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Video

RIP Leonard Nimoy

 

Terribly sad news about Leonard Nimoy. I had no idea he was an accomplished photographer. I recommend watching the whole interview (but I’m biased because I love Star Trek and Leonard Nimoy) but if you just want the photography part then skip forward to 11:21 but you are a fool if you do.

 

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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Desiderata and photography

“Desiderata” (Latin for “desired things”) is a prose poem by American writer Max Ehrmann written in 1927. Over the years the poem has become quite popular and there has been a number of different renditions. My favourite is Leonard Nimoys reciting of the poem titled “Spock Thoughts” from his 1968 album, Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy. Have a listen:

Desiderata is a timeless and classic poem, it’s just as relevant today as it was the day it was written. It’s a wonderful philosophy for life and photography.

This is what I have learned about photography from Desiderata.

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