Let’s start with one of the most famous photographer in the history: Henri Cartier-Bresson.
(August 22, 1908 – August 3, 2004) He was a French photographer considered to be the father of modern photojournalism.
He helped to develop the “street photography” or “real life reportage” style that has influenced generations of photographers who followed.
After unsuccessfully trying to learn music, as a boy Cartier-Bresson was introduced to oil painting by his uncle Louis, a gifted painter. “Painting has been my obsession from the time that my ‘mythical father’, my father’s brother, led me into his studio during the Christmas holidays in 1913, when I was five years old. There I lived in the atmosphere of painting; I inhaled the canvases.” Uncle Louis’ painting lessons were cut short, when he died in World War I.
About abandoning painting, he wrote, “I left Lhote’s studio because I did not want to enter into that systematic spirit. I wanted to be myself. To paint and to change the world counted for more than everything in my life.” He survived by shooting game and selling it to local villagers. From hunting, he learned methods which he later used in photography.
He became inspired by a 1930 photograph by Hungarian photojournalist Martin Munkacsi showing three naked young African boys, caught in near-silhouette, running into the surf of Lake Tanganyika. Titled Three Boys at Lake Tanganyika, this captured the freedom, grace and spontaneity of their movement and their joy at being alive. Cartier-Bresson said:
The only thing which completely was an amazement to me and brought me to photography was the work of Munkacsi. When I saw the photograph of Munkacsi of the black kids running in a wave I couldn’t believe such a thing could be caught with the camera. I said damn it, I took my camera and went out into the street.”
That photograph inspired him to stop painting and to take up photography seriously. He explained, “I suddenly understood that a photograph could fix eternity in an instant.”
He described the Leica as an extension of his eye.
Here’s a selection of his pictures I love the most