Saturday, August 05, 2006

In memoriam: Henri Cartier-Bresson, father of photojournalism

Two years ago this day, Henri Cartier-Bresson died at age 95. Known as the father of photojournalism, he is best remembered for being one of the founders, along with David Seymour and controversial war photographer Robert Capa, of Magnum Photos in 1947, and for his concept of the “Decisive Moment” which is what photojournalism is all about. He defined decisive moment as “the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.”

Before taking up photography, Cartier-Bresson first studied painting where his major influence was Surrealism. He used only black and white film, available light (also known as “existing light”) and refused to crop his pictures.

As I explained several months ago when I began this series on photojournalism, this series is meant to help schoolpaper advisers from grade school and high schools all over the Philippines, and the participants to the photojournalism competitions in the various press conferences - division, regional and national levels. Please take the time to read the Introduction to this series.

Anyway, for every one of you who may be into photography as a serious hobby, as a bread-and-butter profession, as a class requirement, as part of your work as schoolpaper adviser, or as a photojournalism contestant, let’s take time to remember Cartier-Bresson, the man who started it for all of us.