Inspirational quotes in French/English, from the master: Henri Cartier-Bresson


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1. Capturing the beauty of reality, instead of making photos

“Au fond, ce n’est pas la photo en soi qui m’interesse. Ce que je veux c’est de capter une fraction de seconde du reel.”

“Basically, it’s not the photo itself that interests me. What I want is to capture a fraction of a second of the real.”


2. Be ACTIVE; seize life with your photos

Le photographe (tant pis s’il est mal eleve) doit prendre la vie par surprise, au saut du lit.

The photographer has to take life by surprise when he gets out of bed.


3. What makes a great photo?

Une photo unique dont la forme ait assez de vigueur et de richesse, et dont le contenu ait assez de resonance pour se suffire a elle-meme.

A unique photo whose form has enough vigor and richness, and whose content has enough resonance to be self-sufficient.


4. What is reportage?

S’il est possible de photographier le ‘noyau’ de l’evenement aussi bien que les etincelles qui ont jailli, cela fait un reportage.

If it is possible to photograph the ‘core’ of the event as well as the sparks that have sprung up, this is reportage [photography].


5. Making photos with both your head and heart

Photographier c’est mettre sur la meme ligne de mire la tete, l’oeil et le coeur.

To photograph is to put on the same line of sight the head, the eye and the heart.


6. Always be looking, judging, and evaluating

Notre oeil doit constamment mesurer, evaluer. Nous modifions les perspectives par un leger flechissement des genoux, nous amenons des coincidences de lignes par un siple deplacement de la tete d’une fraction de millimetre, mais ceci ne peut etre fait qu’avec la vitesse d’un reflexe, et nous evite de faire de l’Art.

Our eye must constantly measure, evaluate. We modify the perspectives by a slight deflection of the knees, we bring coincidences of lines by a siple displacement of the head of a fraction of millimeter, but this can be done only with the speed of a reflex, and invites us to make Art.


7. Recognize beautiful scenes quickly, and organize visual reality

Une photographie est pour moi la reconnaissance simultanee dans une fraction de seconde, d’une part de la signification d’un fait, et, de l’autre, d’une organisation rigoureuse des formes percues visuellement qui expriment ce fait.

A photograph is for me the simultaneous recognition in a fraction of a second, on the one hand of the meaning of a fact, and, on the other, of a rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that express this fact.


8. Photography is a physical joy and dance!

Je suis un paquet de nerfs qui attend le moment et cela monte et cela eclate, c’est une joie physique, danse, temps et espace réunis. Oui!! Oui! Oui! Comme la conclusion d’Ulysse de Joyce. Voir est un tout.

I am a bundle of nerves waiting for the moment and it rises and it explodes, it is a physical joy, dance, time and space together. Yes!! Yes! Yes! As the conclusion of Ulysses of Joyce. [The art of] seeing is of the utmost importance.


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