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Henri The Magnificent

Stuart Bailie | 09:50 UK time, Monday, 17 May 2010

If you're not particularly keen on the idea of photography as art, then do check out this lovely BBC feature on Henri Cartier Bresson.

The Frenchman was hip to all the painterly ideas, especially geometry. And while he came from a posh family and could be rather haughty when the mood took him, he was also bulging with humanity.

After all, he had escaped from a prisoner of war camp during the war, and experienced many privations. He then travelled the world, detailing the big struggles, the small epiphanies and the moments when the universe seems to react to situations with a cosmic smile. So he could show a sunrise over the Himalayas or a little kid with a stick of bread, and they would both reveal something.

I saw an exhibition of his workbooks in New York two years ago, but this new show seems to detail a lifetime of stunning work, including some rare images. Historians may argue that Andre Kertesz was the daddy of street Zen photography, but HCB elevated that idea, and routinely delivered wonders.



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