Henri Cartier-Bresson Talks About “The Decisive Moment”

Recently I was cruising around Petapixel and found this wonderful gem of a video– Henri Cartier-Bresson himself talking about street photography and “The Decisive Moment”. It is a bit of a long video (20 minutes) but worth every minute hearing the grandfather of street photography discuss his thoughts and share some of his most iconic images.

Who else has been inspired by Henri Cartier-Bresson? Let us know what you think of the video and his work by leaving a comment below!

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  • http://www.unculturedamerican.com Caleb Lau

    Thank you so much for sharing this video. It was really as you described it, a “wonderful gem of a video.”

  • http://apertureimage.com Chris

    As you say, worth every minute. Thanks

  • http://www.davidjperkins.com David j Perkins

    Thank you for sharing this video, it was fascinating.


  • Oisin

    Thanks for sharing that with us. Such enthusiasm and excitement in his art; I could listen to him rabbiting on all day.

  • http://www.nickkingstonephotography.com nick kingstone

    I have so many thoughts I considered to be my own, to be so original, and then to hear this man speak them from an earlier time was beautiful, and heartening. There are so many good sound bites I’m going to watch again and write them down.

    Many many thanks.

  • http://genxtraordinary.wordpress.com phillyvirgo72

    Thank you for sharing this excellent video. I wrote a blog post yesterday about how the idea of decisive moments has influenced my own approach to street photography and included the same video.

  • http://www.blogspot.photokismet.com Helene

    Worth viewing over and over. I was lucky enough to see his exhibit at MOMA in NY in 2010 and was awestruck. The video brought that back. Thanks so much!

    • http://www.erickimphotography.com Eric Kim

      Wonderful to hear Helene! :D

  • http://www.liphe.be Peter

    His most memorable words to my opinion:
    “Taking a photo is a feeling not a thought, it has to feel organic”.

    Nothing to add :-)

  • Brent Fong

    I like his quote about milking a lot of cows to get a little bit of cheese; perfect analogy for us street shooters.

  • Leica 4U

    Saw this on the Leica News & Rumors page Monday. One of the most inspirational and insightful interviews I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to.

    One of his ideals that really resonated with me, is that photography is a physical pleasure. “It doesn’t take much brains. It doesn’t take any brains. It takes sensitivity, a finger and two legs.”

    C’est Magnifique!

  • fian

    HCB is always inspiring me to take picture,one of his quote that I use till today is “photography is about see,think,and feel”

    Thanx for share eric :)

  • http://mayank-p.blogspot.com Mayank

    I picked up on this video on same site probably around the same time you did, and i have watched this close to 15 times already and cant seem to get enough. i also downloaded a couple of documentaries which are a bit more longer, just in case you would like them.

    What inspires me – well he is a philosopher really! its the way he looks at photography as a whole. I wrote a blog today morning – will be great to have your comments. thanks Eric.

  • Lempkin

    Oh my…. What a pleasure to listen to this man speak as a backdrop to all of those incredible images. I like how he laughed as he said, “there are no new ideas in this world.” This won’t be the last time I’m back here to watch this, for sure :-) Thanks, Eric.

  • http://www.richnacin.com richNYC

    And there is another great movie out there on youtube about HCB: ‘L’amour tout court’:


    Split in 5 parts but easy to find them all… Enjoy!!!

  • http://isoterica.tumblr.com/tagged/street Isoterica

    This documentary is amazing really. Henri speaks of patterns, geometry, and that is always what pulls my eye to an image even if the pattern isn’t readily seen by others. Patterns, color, contrast, sames and opposites. There is a good article written by Adam Marelli in his blog that begins with Cartier-Bresson’s quote on ‘geometric patterns’ where Adam breaks down images basically using mathmatics, graphing various points.. clarifying visual direction etc.. that you might find interesting if you haven’t yet read it. Here: http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2011/05/your-shot-003/

  • http://www.facesoflondon.co.uk Marco

    Fantastic, really makes you think.

  • http://www.photo.net/photos/StephaneThemeze Stephane

    It’s always great to hear that the moment of exaltation, i.e when you see and feel something unfolding and it’s grabbing you, is “the thing”, that feel good moment that brings everything together. So short you want another shot at and of it. And HCB did made sure he would have plenty.
    Cool post.
    Happy shooting.

  • Rene Kejlskov Joergensen

    H.C.B. for me is the Mozart of photography. He is the master. Nobody else comes close in sheer amount of quality photographs. And hearing him share his thoughts on photography is very inspiring. I have listen to this clip many times in the last few years and still get inspired from it.

    • http://www.erickimphotography.com Eric Kim

      Well said Rene!

      • Rene Kejlskov Joergensen

        Thanks Eric

  • jason st clair newman

    Awesome thanks for posting that.
    Amazing to hear the man in his own words, talk about photography, you can feel the passion and excitement in his voice as he talks about it.
    “It a way of shouting how you feel” I love that quote

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/byzeno Zeno

    Is was a fantastic video, but has sadly been removed.


  • http://jacobpattersonart.com Jacob Patterson

    Hey the video got taken down. Is there anywhere else I can see it?

    • http://www.erickimphotography.com Eric Kim

      Argh– I doubt its still up anymore then. Will probably have to take this post down :(

  • http://ishupatel.com Ishu Patel

    Dear all,
    Please visit my website. I have posted an article about my experience with Henri Cartier Bresson. you will also see some of his influence on my photography.


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  • Javier Martin Floren

    where can I find the video again, its down..? thanks

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