Henri Cartier-Bresson

Dates1908 - 2004
BornCanteloup, France

"I was never deeply interested in photography as such...My great passion is pressing the trigger of the shutter: an instant, intuitive drawing," Henri Cartier-Bresson once remarked. In a 1996 interview in conjunction with an exhibition of his drawings in New York City, he stated that he has never considered himself a photographer but rather a draftsman. Although he still continues to produce and exhibit his drawings, it is the split-second "decisive moments" that he captured on film for which he is renowned. Cartier-Bresson was a pioneer of street photography, which he facilitated by using a Leica, a 35mm single lens reflex camera that allowed extra speed and responsiveness in picture-taking.

Cartier-Bresson studied cinematography with Paul Strand in New York City in 1935 and later became a film assistant and filmmaker in France. He also co-founded Magnum Photos, an influential collective agency for photojournalists.