Mimicking the Masters: Henri Cartier-Bresson


Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French photographer who is well-known as the ‘father of modern photojournalism’. He was also one of the pioneer photographers who developed street photography. Learn more techniques from this master photographer.

Henri Cartier-Bresson is known as the’Father of Street Photography’ and has influenced other great photographers with his personal style. As a photojournalist, he wanted to convey what he saw through the photos that he captured, all the while using his trusty 35mm camera. He also preferred using black and white film as opposed to color film. Let’s learn more about Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photographic style:

Photos © Henri Cartier-Bresson via Time, Pbase, Alafoto and Watches 2012

Stay low-key
As a street photographer, staying low-key is one of the aspects that will make a good photograph. Try to be as unobtrusive as possible when taking photos of the subjects that you want to capture. Blend in with the environment or practice shooting without using the camera’s viewfinder so people would be unaware that you are taking photographs of them. You might just be able to capture raw emotions that you wouldn’t have captured if your subject is aware that you are taking his photo.

Photos © Henri Cartier-Bresson via Time, Pbase, Alafoto and Watches 2012

Patience is a must
‘There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment’. This was a statement that Henri Cartier-Bresson said in his book entitled ‘The Decisive Moment’. There are times when you have to wait for the right moment in order to get the perfect photo. When you are out shooting, be patient and observe your surroundings so that you know the right moment to take the photo. Welcome photographic opportunities! They may easily come to you or you may have to wait minutes or hours to get the perfect shot. ‘The moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.’

Photos © Henri Cartier-Bresson via Time, Pbase, Alafoto and Watches 2012

Think of including geometric elements when taking photos. Incorporate geometric designs in your composition and you may be surprised how unique your photo turns out. Take a look at your surroundings and you will surely see plenty of geometric elements that you can include in your photo.

View some black and white photos from our community:

Credits: boredbone, adam_g2000, horstler, fruchtzwerg_hh, area51delcorazon, yarah, ariannapaloma & ginnys

For more on Henri Cartier-Bresson, read Best of the Best: Henri Cartier-Bresson. Information used for this article was taken from CBA, Wikipedia - Henri Cartier-Bresson and Erick Kim Photography.

Read more articles on the 'Mimicking the Masters' series.

written by jeanmendoza on 2012-01-09 #gear #tutorials #black-and-white #photography #tipster #mimicking-the-masters #henri-cartier-bresson #weekly-tributes #henri-cartier-bresson-week #top-tipster-techniques


  1. hervinsyah
    hervinsyah ·


  2. boredbone
    boredbone ·

    yes, such a great influence.

  3. lyndxe
    lyndxe ·

    so inspiring!

  4. boredbone
    boredbone ·

    and thanks for featuring my photo :-)

  5. admiral_apricot
    admiral_apricot ·

    Bresson was known for waiting hours to take a photo, decisive moment is such a key aspect of his style. Love his work. Great article!

  6. brock-johnson
    brock-johnson ·

    im so indecisive sometimes!

  7. flykiwii
    flykiwii ·

    I love these mimicking the masters articles.
    I've check him out on google and now henri cartier bresson is
    One of my all time favourite photographers now! Thank
    You for sharing your info! Very inspirational :]

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