Henri Cartier-Bresson was born on August 22, 1908, in Chanteloup, France. Initially interested in painting, Cartier-Bresson was influenced by his painter uncle and studied under some of his uncle’s friends, becoming deeply interested in Surrealism. He studied with André Lhote, a cubist painter and critic, from 1927-28. In 1931 inspired by the photography of Eugène Atget and Man Ray, Cartier-Bresson boarded a ship headed to Africa, where he lived in the bush and photographed his experiences with a miniature camera; however he contracted blackwater fever, and had to return to France. In 1933, he purchased his first 35mm Leica. This small camera lent itself to portability, spontaneity, and anonymity, which allowed him to develop his photojournalistic style and easily travel the world. In 1947, a solo exhibition was held in his honor at MoMA in New York; while in the US, Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa and others founded Magnum Photos, a cooperative agency of photojournalists. Cartier-Bresson was honored in 1955, when a retrospective exhibition of 400 of his photographs was held at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris and then travelled internationally before being deposited into the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. He died in France on August 3, 2004, leaving behind a legacy that firmly established photojournalism as an artform.
Henri Cartier-Bresson is featured in Edition: The Best of the Met