Revoir Paris with Henri Cartier Bresson is always an enchantment. The musée Carnavalet, a prestigious location in the heart of Paris, gives him the space and surroundings to shine. HCB’s images are generally well known and often admired for what they are: chefs d’oeuvre of composition, decisive moments depicting a situation, an encounter, instants of humanity. This time, the grand exhibit describes the encounter of HCB with Paris or Paris with HCB, from his origins as photographer in the 1930’s to his latest works as a drawer. Paris in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s. A Paris that was and is no longer. Despite the photographs seen so many times before in previous exhibits and in books, the curator was able to also present a tremendous body of works less known and seen before. I was touched by those photographs as well (below) and remarks, such as this comment by HCB himself when meeting Irène and Frédéric Jolliot-Curie “I rang the bell, the door opened, I saw this [the picture he took of them], I shot the image and said hello afterwards; it was not very polite”, or this dedication by Jean Cocteau on one of HCB’s books “you know very well that your book is a masterpiece, but I am happy to tell you so”… precious.

Boulevard de la Villette, 1955 © Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos
Under the underground metro, Boulevard de la Chapelle, 1951 © Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos
Boulevard Pasteur, 1955 © Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos
Window Fitter, 1951 © Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos
Place Pigalle, 1932 © Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos
%d bloggers like this: