Henri Cartier-Bresson: Europeans

Henri Cartier-Bresson: Europeans

  1. Jean Clair
  • ISBN 9780500281222
  • 26.90 x 21.90 cm
  • Paperback with flaps
  • 232pp
  • 187 Illustrations, 0 in colour
  • First published 1999
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‘Cartier-Bresson’s influence has been immense . . . he has been largely responsible for our sense of how modern life looks’ – London Review of Books
‘Each image is a snapshot of one of those small, loosely connected sections of time that all join together to form the experience of life. Through Bresson’s lens, for just one moment, they are all real, raw and true’ – Amateur Photographer

In 1955, Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the twentieth century’s most influential and original photographers, published 'The Europeans'. His portrait of the continent showed a landscape shadowed by war, where many still lived among ruins and bore the marks of hunger.

For this book, first published forty-five years later, he brought together a far broader range of images, from the late 1920s to the early 1990s.

Cartier-Bresson had travelled across Europe, from Scandinavia to Ireland, to capture what it means to be European. Beyond nationalism and the particular characteristics of each nation, he found evidence of a greater identity, a family likeness shared by the people and the landscape.

We see them at work, in the streets, travelling and gossiping. Sometimes they are lone figures; a photograph may show only a single gaze, a glimpse of a face. Often, however, Cartier-Bresson turns his camera to couples, mirrored individuals, linked solitudes or crowds, gathering to celebrate or to protest.

Unified by the clarity and compassion of his vision, Cartier-Bresson’s photographs speak of the ongoing business of living for people across Europe.

Jean Clair was formerly the Director of the Musée Picasso in Paris, and has published numerous works on contemporary art and aesthetics.