The mind’s eye book review by Henri Cartier Bresson

by Enche Tjin on April 17, 2010

Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the founder of Magnum Photos rarely write, he rather shoot or sketch. That makes this book quite rare and significant. It compile Bresson writing in one book. Bresson discussed about his thought about photography especially photojournalism.

the-minds-eye-hcb-bookBy reading this book, you get insight about what inside Bresson’s mind on photography, philosophy and what he thinks about other artists. Part two of the book discuss about Bresson’s travel to China, Cuba etc. It provides interesting insight on his journey.

However, this book is not technical how-to book, if you are looking for book that teach you how to take photo like Bresson, then you are looking for a wrong book. However, I think that the map/rules for Bresson’s style can’t be explained because it is basically no rules or map. But, you can get some valuable insights from this book and perhaps get a feel what Bresson is about.

Here are some interesting paragraphs that I quote right from the book:

Subject does not consist of a collection of facts, for facts in themselves offer little interest. Through facts, however, we can reach an understanding of the laws that govern them, and be better able to select the essential ones which communicate reality.

The camera is for us a tool, not a pretty mechanical toy. In the precise functioning of the mechanical object perhaps there is an unconscious compensation for the anxietes and uncertainties of daily endevor. In any case, people think far too much about technique and not enough about seeing.

Complicated equipment and light reflectors and various other items of hardware are enough, to my mind, to prevent the birdie from coming out.

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