“In order to “give a meaning” to the world, one has to feel oneself involved in what one frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, a discipline of the mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry.” ― Henri Cartier-Bresson

This quote is from his book ‘The Mind’s Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers’. When I look at his images I see intent. It is the one thing that separates his work from thousands of photographers at street. From this quote it is evident he is emotionally involved with the scene and his subjects.  His images are a synthesis of mind and soul and have stood the test of time.

When taking images of an iconic place or location it may be easy to imitate what you have seen in other photographs. But the real challenge is to look at this location with fresh eyes and see it as if it hasn’t been seen before. I went to Rome with some expectations, but then when I am out wandering the streets I prefer to allow the stories to unfold, and let the images to come to me. If I have images in mind that I want to capture it is likely that I will miss the spontaneous images that present themselves.


This image taken inside the Colosseum is different to 99% of street photo simply because of the Point of View from above. The shadows add an abstract element that helps to create impact.


In this image I saw my subjects standing waiting for the lights to change. There was a crowd on my side of the street so I needed to move quickly to the right place to get the composition I needed. I was able to wait until they were on the crossing before I pressed the shutter.


This final image was taken early in the morning, my point of view is low to the ground to eliminate distractions and capture natural contrast of my subject against the sky.

Henri mentions Concentration and Discipline which I believe we develop over time.  Also, Sensitivity and Geometry. Emotions are powerful when mixed with a strong composition. So this quote shows us his intent in his work and why it is so powerful.

T

Any thoughts?

Leave a Reply