Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => The Coffee Corner => Topic started by: nemo295 on June 21, 2013, 04:58:39 PM

Title: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: nemo295 on June 21, 2013, 04:58:39 PM
Here's an interesting 2-part interview with Cartier-Bresson, conducted in 1971 by Sheila Turner-Seed. It has remained unpublished until now.

A couple of highlights for me: he calls color photography "disgusting" and he thinks that it's ridiculous for photographers to number their prints.

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/20/henri-cartier-bresson-living-and-looking/

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/21/cartier-bresson-there-are-no-maybes/
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: RSL on June 21, 2013, 09:40:09 PM
Thanks, Doug. It's a very interesting couple of interviews in which Henri reiterates what he's written in books like Images à la sauvette. He always was clear about his opinions on color photography. And his flat statement about the absurdity of numbering photographic prints is exactly what I'd expect him to say. If you check my primary web site you'll see it's something I've been saying for a long time -- to the annoyance of some gallery people and other photographers.

Henri was one of the finest artists of the twentieth century, and certainly the most influential photographer of the century. Ansel did some good work, but as far as the history of the art is concerned, next to Henri Ansel's a footnote.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: nemo295 on June 22, 2013, 02:02:34 AM
I think you're comparing apples to oranges regarding Ansel and Henri, Russ. Both were hugely influential in their respective genres. I wouldn't knock either one.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Rob C on June 22, 2013, 04:08:58 AM
I don't think so Doug; there's a level of reputation that transcends category or genre within photography, and I think HC-B is closer to the top of that listing.

It doesn't even correspond to wealth from photography: Avedon must have out-earned him a zillion times, and Penn and Watson too, but the latter two are not the first reputations that spring to mind when great snappers are mentioned. In fact, Adams and similar are pretty far down the list, as are most landscape people, almost entirely unknown outwith the faithful fold, as I said. You have to be a photographer to know about them, pretty much.

I think HC-B has captured the popular, world imagination where the latter people are only famous within the fraternity.

Rob C


P.S. Can't open either link!
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: AFairley on June 22, 2013, 12:08:04 PM
Thanks for the link, Doug, good read.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 22, 2013, 12:43:57 PM
Rob and Russ,

What yardstick (other than your personal opinion) you use to judge the relative superiority of HCB vs. AA? Are there any published polls as to their respective popularity "outside the faithful fold"? Which one had more impact on the world around them (excluding boosting Leica sales)?

The way I see HCB is a renegade bourgeois, bored, and preoccupied with his own inner world of peculiar moments. Ah, look, a guy jumps over the puddle! So big freakin' what? The worlds around him fall apart, with all the human joy and suffering, while he happily indulges his inner sense of geometry.

Nice to occasionally look at, chuckle even for a split second, but importance of historic proportions... give me a break!

There, I said it.

P.S. You can tell I've been defending KR lately - his style starting to rub off on me... Or maybe we are just kindred spirits ;)
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: petermfiore on June 22, 2013, 01:08:51 PM
Rob and Russ,


The way I see HCB is a renegade bourgeois, bored, and preoccupied with his own inner world of peculiar moments. Ah, look, a guy jumps over the puddle! So big freakin' what? The worlds around him fall apart, with all the human joy and suffering, while he (happily indulges his inner sense of geometry).


The very definition of an Artist!
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 22, 2013, 01:26:13 PM
The very definition of an Artist!

The definition of an artist (no capital A, sorry) perhaps, but hardly enough for the definition of a great artist. Great artists have a certain impact on humanity, if only for later generations, on how we see the world. Yes, Edvard Munch, for instance, expressed his inner world too (like all artists), but that resonates with the rest of humanity almost universally, across cultural or geographical borders. In that respect, HCB could perhaps hope for an obscure artist status at best.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: nemo295 on June 22, 2013, 01:30:43 PM
In fact, Adams and similar are pretty far down the list, as are most landscape people, almost entirely unknown outwith the faithful fold, as I said. You have to be a photographer to know about them, pretty much.

LOL!!! Adams was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He was honored with a Doctorate of Arts from Harvard and Yale. He's been the subject of numerous documentaries and authored dozens of books. His work is in every major museum collection of photography on the planet. He has a goddamn mountain named after him!

I think one or two people outside of the "faithful fold" may have noticed him, Rob.   :D :D :D
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: RSL on June 22, 2013, 01:46:01 PM
Hi Slobodan,

For a "yardstick," try any current book on the history of photography.

What both Ansel and Edward Weston did was break away from the pictorialists and make "straight" photographs that were tack sharp and specific. Both men spent most of their time shooting rocks and vegetables. Both also shot people, but the people were posed. Both, for the most part, used view cameras on stands. Neither of them did anything really new. They just did things better.

Henri, on the other hand, grabbed the smallest camera around and began shooting people unposed. He did do a series of portraits, of which, in my estimation at least, his Ezra Pound was top of the heap, though his incredible snapshot of the Curies certainly ranks near the top, but street photography was his main thing. It's true that Andre Kertesz also did street photography with a small camera, but Andre didn't cover the world the way Henri did. It's interesting to read how many great photographers of the twentieth century single out Henri as a significant influence, among them Evans, Frank, Winogrand, Friedlander, and Leibovitz, to name just a few.

Now, notice that I said Henri was the "most influential" photographer of the twentieth century, not that he was the "best" photographer of the twentieth century. If we want to talk about "best," I'd have to make a pretty strong case that Gene Smith holds that title. But influential? That's Henri. The thing he taught other photographers was how to go with the flow and not try to put thoughts into photographs, to react rather than plan. It's something most of our contemporaries behind their cameras never learn. 
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: RSL on June 22, 2013, 01:59:54 PM
LOL!!! Adams was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He was honored with a Doctorate of Arts from Harvard and Yale. He's been the subject of numerous documentaries and authored dozens of books. His work is in every major museum collection of photography on the planet. He has a goddamn mountain named after him!

I think one or two people outside of the "faithful fold" may have noticed him, Rob.   :D :D :D

A Presidential Medal? Wow! A Doctorate of Arts? Wow! From Harvard? Wow! A mountain named after him? Wow! I'm terribly impressed (even though one of my brothers-in-law has a mountain named after him).

Ansel made pictures that look good on walls. Most museums like pictures that look good on walls. For the most part, Henri didn't do that. He made pictures of human behavior that taught us things about human nature, and also, as time marches on, something about history. Ansel didn't do that. He made pictures of rocks and trees.

LOL!!!
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: petermfiore on June 22, 2013, 02:02:27 PM
The definition of an artist (no capital A, sorry) perhaps, but hardly enough for the definition of a great artist. Great artists have a certain impact on humanity, if only for later generations, on how we see the world. Yes, Edvard Munch, for instance, expressed his inner world too (like all artists), but that resonates with the rest of humanity almost universally, across cultural or geographical borders. In that respect, HCB could perhaps hope for an obscure artist status at best.


Thank the Lord, this but an opinion.

Peter
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 22, 2013, 02:04:09 PM
...It's interesting to read how many great photographers of the twentieth century single out Henri as a significant influence, among them Evans, Frank, Winogrand, Friedlander, and Leibovitz, to name just a few...

He might influenced them, but I could't care less about any of them, nor about the whole genre of street photography. As you can guess, I do not belong to the "faithful fold."

I was talking about their perceived importance among general public, not cult followers.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: nemo295 on June 22, 2013, 02:12:08 PM
A Presidential Medal? Wow! A Doctorate of Arts? Wow! From Harvard? Wow! A mountain named after him? Wow! I'm terribly impressed (even though one of my brothers-in-law has a mountain named after him).

Ansel made pictures that look good on walls. Most museums like pictures that look good on walls. For the most part, Henri didn't do that. He made pictures of human behavior that taught us things about human nature, and also, as time marches on, something about history. Ansel didn't do that. He made pictures of rocks and trees.

Oh come on, Russ. Stop pretending like none of those things matter. Of course they do. Dismissing things out of hand just because you don't like them is the lazy way out.

There's no point in trying to argue who's better than whom. It's all one's own opinion. The objective fact is that both Adams and HCB were important artists. But they were also very different artists.

Obviously, landscape photographers are going to respond more to Adams's work and street photographers are going to gravitate to HCB.

There's room enough for both on this bus, Russ.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 22, 2013, 02:15:43 PM
Thank the Lord, this but an opinion.

Peter

So, show me the facts then. That one is "popular word-wide," beyond the fraternity, as Rob claims, an the other is "just a footnote in art history," as Russ claims.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: petermfiore on June 22, 2013, 02:37:19 PM
So, show me the facts then. That one is "popular word-wide," beyond the fraternity, as Rob claims, an the other is "just a footnote in art history," as Russ claims.

As an artist this is my opinion. That is all that is necessary for my needs. How he influences the rest of the world, that another issue. What I draw from his work, he qualifies to be called an ARTIST. All caps in my world.

Peter

ps   Art is not about fact. If one needs to question that, one needs to better understand what Art is.

Peter
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 22, 2013, 02:53:53 PM
...ps   Art is not about fact. If one needs to question that, one needs to better understand what Art is...

And exactly where did I question that? Or where did I question your perception who is artist? I questioned instead the claim that one is more popular/influential/significant outside of the respective "fraternity."
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: RSL on June 22, 2013, 04:03:18 PM
As you can guess, I do not belong to the "faithful fold."

Looks as if you belong to the Ansel faithful fold, Slobodan. Good thing. Accepting the significance of Ansel's work requires a lot of faith.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: RSL on June 22, 2013, 04:58:01 PM
Oh come on, Russ. Stop pretending like none of those things matter. Of course they do.

You're right, Doug. Things like that matter a lot to the people who receive such honors, but they haven't much to do with an artist's achievements as an artist. Art has to stand on its own without reference to the artist. Ansel's pictures hang on the wall. Henri's pictures enlighten us. Ansel made beautiful art. Henri made significant art. There's a difference -- a significant difference.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: jwstl on June 22, 2013, 05:00:45 PM
You're right, Doug. Things like that matter a lot to the people who receive such honors, but they haven't much to do with an artist's achievements as an artist. Art has to stand on its own without reference to the artist. Ansel's pictures hang on the wall. Henri's pictures enlighten us. Ansel made beautiful art. Henri made significant art. There's a difference -- a significant difference.

Henri's pictures enlighten you, not everyone. There's a difference, a significant difference.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: RSL on June 22, 2013, 05:29:10 PM
Then I take it you find Ansel's shots of El Capitan "enlightening?"
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Rob C on June 22, 2013, 05:33:47 PM
So, show me the facts then. That one is "popular word-wide," beyond the fraternity, as Rob claims, an the other is "just a footnote in art history," as Russ claims.


I’m sorry, but American awards to American ‘artists’ is a pretty meaningless concept outwith the American circus, be it Hollywood or the galleries. It’s like Nashville and Grand Ole Oprey – who knows any of them or gives a shit?

The thing is this: you find that every country has its internally known ‘stars’, whose light shines rather less brightly abroad. Take Britain, for example. If you were to ask the guy in the street who the best snapper is, he’ll invariably reply David Bailey. Not because he is, but because he’s a popular icon whose fame surpasses the gamut of the other snappers: he’s the one invoked when a snapper’s name is required. He’s even recognized from an old Olympus series of commercials. Most non-snappers have probably never heard of Avedon, Bill King, Bruce Weber, Nick Knight, and all the rest. At a stretch, they may think Getty is a famous snapper. They might have heard of Mario Testino, though, if they can remember who shot some snaps of Lady Di...

But, if you can remove the local hero’s name from the equation, then it’s the guys from way back who come out as the standards on an international basis, and on that list, it’s going to be HC-B before Adams; most will think he just invented the fireplace or was big on apples and snakes. If you go to the better bookshops in Britain, it ain’t Adams books you find folks looking at – if there are any - it’s the Boys of Paris. And that includes old Helmut too, because that’s where he made himself. It’s the same here in Spain: I have never seen an Avedon book anywhere, in a shop or elsewhere. But plenty of Parisians, native or adopted, to be found as well as a few US porn merchants whose names I forget – as quickly as possible.

I used to buy French PHOTO, which spawned American PHOTO.  For a while I bought both. They both ran a list of the 100 most influential figures in photography. Guess what: the lists were not the same. Surprise, surprise!

Also, you must remember that photography, as wall art, has been popular in the States for a long time – it still struggles for legitimacy elsewhere. So naturally, the King of Wall art, unchallenging, unthreatening and safe wall art, must reign pretty near the top at home, especially when it’s a matter of America the Beautiful as product. It’s an internal extension of all those flagpoles outside your houses: who else does that, outwith China or North Korea? Oh yes, I had a Canadian neighbour who did, here in Spain. In Scotland they do it differently: they used to produce a zillion varieties of Bonnie Scotland scenic calendars, and pretty much every single one was sent abroad to distant relatives who might never have set foot in the old place.

Frankly, I’m pretty photographer/photography aware by definition, but there are few guys whose work I’d hang at home or anywhere else, for that matter. And the Saint ain’t one of them.

Slightly OT, but if you are going to hang photographs, then I think you need an office in a skyscraper for it.

Rob C
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 22, 2013, 05:33:57 PM
This thread is becoming as one of those Canon vs. Nikon, Mac vc. PC, etc. Which is totally ridiculous, as everyone knows Canon is better than Nikon, Mac is superior to Windows, and AA far better photographer than HCB ;D
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: RSL on June 22, 2013, 05:46:11 PM
That's zero for three, Slobodan.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Rob C on June 23, 2013, 11:13:25 AM
Game, set and match.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 23, 2013, 11:34:53 AM
Game, set and match.

Judge, jury and executioner?
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Isaac on June 23, 2013, 12:39:59 PM
If you were to ask the guy in the street who the best snapper is, he’ll invariably reply David Bailey.

If you were to ask the guy of a certain age... he'll invariably reply...
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Isaac on June 23, 2013, 01:39:15 PM
Henri was one of the finest artists of the twentieth century, and certainly the most influential photographer of the century. Ansel did some good work, but as far as the history of the art is concerned, next to Henri Ansel's a footnote.

From the familiar remarks Cartier-Bresson usually made to interviewers straight into a put-down of Ansel Adams?

Russ Lewis, you are such a fanboy! :-)
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Rob C on June 23, 2013, 05:45:46 PM
Judge, jury and executioner?

Sometimes, there's no alternative.

Rob C
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Rob C on June 23, 2013, 05:53:10 PM
If you were to ask the guy of a certain age... he'll invariably reply...


I rather suspect that younger guys have even less history upon which to draw.

In which case, they are fishing in an even more shallow pond which must diminish the value of their response insofar as its historical and, therefore, overall value can be measured. Obviously, that would drive poor old Ansel even further out of the pop ratings. Other than in the States, of course.

Rob C
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: nemo295 on June 23, 2013, 07:33:51 PM

I’m sorry, but American awards to American ‘artists’ is a pretty meaningless concept outwith the American circus, be it Hollywood or the galleries. It’s like Nashville and Grand Ole Oprey – who knows any of them or gives a shit?

Clearly you don't. But somehow I think the international reputation of the American art community will survive, despite your summary judgement.

Quote
If you go to the better bookshops in Britain, it ain’t Adams books you find folks looking at – if there are any - it’s the Boys of Paris. And that includes old Helmut too, because that’s where he made himself.

Frankly your account of what's going on in art book stores sounds 20 years out of date. Helmut Newton? Really? His popularity peaked circa 1992. While it's true that you won't find much of Ansel's work on the shelves today, many American photographers are quite well represented at UK art book dealers. More so, in fact, than the "Boys of Paris". THE premiere retailer of photography monographs in the UK is photobookstore.co.uk. You'll find no shortage of Americans there--but not a single monograph of HCB's work, or Helmut's for that matter. Frank, Eggleston, Hido, Winogrand, Misrach, Meyrowitz, Klein, Friedlander (to name a few)--yes. Japanese photographers, like Moriyama and Nishimura, are also quite popular. These are the photographers whose books the serious collectors are buying in the UK and around the world today, not the old French guard. It would seem there are a few people left in the world who don't share your contempt for American artists.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Peter McLennan on June 23, 2013, 08:08:37 PM
 OK, smarty-pantses.  Somebody somewhere (and some time ago for most of us) some single photographer inspired you to either pick up a camera or learn to use the one you had.

Who was that photographer?
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: FranciscoDisilvestro on June 23, 2013, 08:29:59 PM
OK, smarty-pantses.  Somebody somewhere (and some time ago for most of us) some single photographer inspired you to either pick up a camera or learn to use the one you had.

Who was that photographer?

Ernst Haas

Regards
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Isaac on June 23, 2013, 09:21:50 PM
Henri's pictures enlighten us.

Please share one of those photographs that you feel enlightens us.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: nemo295 on June 23, 2013, 09:25:31 PM
OK, smarty-pantses.  Somebody somewhere (and some time ago for most of us) some single photographer inspired you to either pick up a camera or learn to use the one you had.

Who was that photographer?

The very first one was Paul Strand, but there have been many others since, most notably Eugene Smith and Josef Sudek.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on June 23, 2013, 11:39:08 PM
How refreshing to find a thread on LuLa that isn't involved with "my megapixels are better than your megapixels" or some variant thereof.

Here we have "My favorite photographer can beat up your favorite photographer with one Canon tied behind his Nikon!"   


 ???  ???  ???

Why don't you all go out and take some photographs that you like?

Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 24, 2013, 12:48:58 AM
Scientific proof that AA is twice as popular as HCB:

I rest my case ;D


Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Rob C on June 24, 2013, 04:41:44 AM
Clearly you don't. But somehow I think the international reputation of the American art community will survive, despite your summary judgement.

Frankly your account of what's going on in art book stores sounds 20 years out of date. Helmut Newton? Really? His popularity peaked circa 1992. While it's true that you won't find much of Ansel's work on the shelves today, many American photographers are quite well represented at UK art book dealers. More so, in fact, than the "Boys of Paris". THE premiere retailer of photography monographs in the UK is photobookstore.co.uk. You'll find no shortage of Americans there--but not a single monograph of HCB's work, or Helmut's for that matter. Frank, Eggleston, Hido, Winogrand, Misrach, Meyrowitz, Klein, Friedlander (to name a few)--yes. Japanese photographers, like Moriyama and Nishimura, are also quite popular. These are the photographers whose books the serious collectors are buying in the UK and around the world today, not the old French guard. It would seem there are a few people left in the world who don't share your contempt for American artists.



Your colouring my views on Nashville into a generalized ‘contempt’ of an entire nation’s artistic product is a bit OTT; there are lot’s of early US photographers whose work pushed me to joining the ranks of the wet nicotined fingers set. To be clear: my best intro to photography was achieved through the Popular Photography Annuals of the fifties and, I think, early sixties (not counting, for the moment, the pages of Vogue and Harper’s B.). The Saint wasn’t one of them. I can’t even remember his name coming up at the time…

My point was/is that because something rings lots of bells in the States, that doesn’t mean that it inevitably counts for much outwith that country. Hence the two different lists of the “100 most influential people in photography” in American PHOTO and the parent, French edition.

It also cuts the other way: R ‘n’ B was huge In Britain long before US whites were ‘allowed’ to hear it on their radio stations; and even then, it was copied by more of the same colour – Pat Boone, anyone? – and the rip offs were the ones that made the money. It more or less took the Beatles and the Stones to introduce white America to its own, home-grown music! Jazz fared little better, with many black US artists making Paris home… yes Paris, always to the fore with the arts.

Regarding UK bookshops: you could be right – I never ran a survey; however, that the list of snappers is wider then HC-B is hardly surprising – they have to try and sell something, and I suppose most buyers of photo books already own their set of HC-Bs, much as with Newton. It’s a small market, at easily fifty to a hundred euros a pop! (And considerably more if you buy some of the Taschen book offerings!) Let’s not forget David Hamilton, whilst we are chatting about books, posters, movies and galleries and sales figures.

Francisco mentioned Ernst Haas. Undoubtedly one of the true stars of modern photographyu, and also a maker of seminal books, but an American? From Vienna?

Do you perceive no irony in putting Eggleston and Winogrand into the same pantheon of great photographers as William Klein and Frank?

Rob C
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: FranciscoDisilvestro on June 24, 2013, 06:12:21 AM

Francisco mentioned Ernst Haas. Undoubtedly one of the true stars of modern photographyu, and also a maker of seminal books, but an American? From Vienna?

Rob C


Well, I Know Ernst Haas was from Austria, I was just responding to a question of who (photographer) inspired me, never said he was American.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on June 24, 2013, 10:36:10 AM
Scientific proof that AA is twice as popular as HCB:

I rest my case ;D



Fine examples of "photographs you like," Slobodan.

Of course, Google is aimed at the Great Unwashed, so its results cannot be considered definitive. So, since LuLa members are the true Elite of the Photographic Art world, I decided to poll them:

Number of posts on LuLa by AA:     0
Number of posts on LuLa by HCB:   0

So it appears to be a tie.    :-\    :o

Eric M.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: RSL on June 24, 2013, 11:02:15 AM
Scientific proof that white bread is 27.5 times as popular as Ansel Adams.

Cross examination?
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 24, 2013, 01:51:16 PM
Russ, the only thing you have to subject to cross examination is your calculator.

White bread would be only 12 times as popular as AA, but 27.5 as HCB. Which, based on simple rules of formal logic and math that require no cross examination, would still result in Adams being 2.3 times more popular than Henri!

Eat that, Russ (instead of white bread)!  ;D
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: RSL on June 24, 2013, 02:48:37 PM
You're right, Slobodan. I fumble-fingered the calculator. But here's another interesting popularity comparison that shows that beer is 99 times more popular than Ansel, and that street photography is 6 times more popular than landscape photography. That ought to settle the matter.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Rob C on June 24, 2013, 03:55:31 PM
Well, I Know Ernst Haas was from Austria, I was just responding to a question of who (photographer) inspired me, never said he was American.



No, the point was that non-Americans are/were also very influential. I wasn't criticising you.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: AFairley on June 24, 2013, 03:56:03 PM
I always have found AA's photos to be sort of boring, sort of drained of vitality.  (There, I finally said it.)  Unlike E Weston's images which are simply bursting with life.  The most interesting thing to me about HCB is how boring the stuff he did on assignment is compared to the street stuff for which he is best known.  But that's the great thing about "Art," isn't it, there's something for every taste.  
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: RSL on June 24, 2013, 04:19:27 PM
Thanks, Alan, for saying that. If you've read any of my posts on HCB you know that I agree. Henri made fine art when he was a flâneur with a camera, but on assignment he simply was a very good reporter. The difference between his early work and, say, The People of Moscow, is instructive.

And I agree that Weston's stuff was much more passionate than Ansel's. I was gobbling up both men's work back in the late fifties and early sixties, but what I got from Ansel was useful information on darkroom work and the zone system. What I got from Edward was a sense of passion. Ansel's "Georgia O'Keefe and Orville Cox," which essentially ends up as the human equivalent of a landscape, and Weston's pictures of Tina Modotti (and I'm not talking just about the nudes) illustrate the difference.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on June 24, 2013, 04:32:51 PM
... beer is 99 times more popular than Ansel..

Does it come as a surprise to anyone that beer and white bread are so much more popular than art and environment in the heaviest nation on Earth? I mean, Earth core must be caving in under that weight, and California is even cracking under it. ;D
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: RSL on June 24, 2013, 04:36:51 PM
 ;D ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: nemo295 on June 24, 2013, 05:28:35 PM
This thread has gone from Cartier-Bresson to the apocalypse in only three pages. I'm impressed.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: petermfiore on June 24, 2013, 05:32:15 PM
It could have been Two if we all didn't mince our words.


Peter
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: nemo295 on June 24, 2013, 05:34:03 PM
We'll do better next time.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: BJL on June 28, 2013, 03:36:21 PM
What both Ansel and Edward Weston did was break away from the pictorialists and make "straight" photographs that were tack sharp and specific.

Neither of them did anything really new. They just did things better.

Henri, on the other hand, grabbed the smallest camera around and began shooting people unposed.

Firstly, your claim of "nothing really new, just better" is somewhat contradicted by your previous comment, and the role of Adams et al in pushing landscape photography towards developing its own style, rather than imitating painting too much.

Secondly, the put-down of "not new, just better" can be thrown at almost any innovator if you research their background enough --- including Cartier-Bresson. He had antecedents in street photography, like Pierre Bonnard and Édouard Vuillard. Both were better known for their painting, but Cartier-Bresson was also a painter before and after his time with photography. Carter-Bresson arguably advanced that facet of photography through a combination of talent and the arrival of better tools: his Leicas vs the Kodaks available to Bonnard and Vuillard in the late 1800's.

Thirdly, it is bemusing to read the argument that, in essence, Adam's work is inherently less important because it was mostly landscapes rather than people: what is the name of this site again?


I vote for considering AA and HCB as great and influential contributers in very different aspects of photography, and putting aside any factional claims about which was greater.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: BJL on June 28, 2013, 03:48:01 PM
Somebody somewhere (and some time ago for most of us) some single photographer inspired you to either pick up a camera or learn to use the one you had.

Who was that photographer?
My father. I suspect that this (and/or ”mother") is the most common answer from those of us who have been photographic enthusiasts since childhood. What tiny fraction of photographers needed a world-famous guru to first inspire them?

I suppose I am just not into hero-worshipping cults (and inter-cult warfare) like some people.
Title: Re: Henri Cartier-Bresson: Living and Looking
Post by: RSL on June 28, 2013, 05:37:34 PM
Thanks for your comments, BJL, but I stand by what I said.