Henri Cartier-Bresson Andalucia. Seville. Spain. 1933. © Henri Cartier-Bresson | Magnum Photos
Henri Cartier-Bresson Boston. Massachusetts, USA. 1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson | Magnum Photos
Henri Cartier-Bresson As the value of the paper money sank, the Kuomintang decided to distribute 40 grams of gold per person. With the gold rush, in December, thousands came out and waited in line for hours. The police, (...)
Henri Cartier-Bresson US writer, Truman Capote. New Orleans. Louisiana. USA. 1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson | Magnum Photos
Henri Cartier-Bresson Tehuantepec. State of Oaxaca, Mexico. 1934. © Henri Cartier-Bresson | Magnum Photos
Henri Cartier-Bresson A newly-wed bride and groom at an outdoor café on the Marne. The couple were here for the entire afternoon with a full wedding party which included uncles, aunts and small children of the family. T (...)
Henri Cartier-Bresson French painter Henri Matisse with his model Micaela Avogadro. Cimiez district, Nice, France. February 1944. © Henri Cartier-Bresson | Magnum Photos

Since its publication in 1952, Images à la Sauvette by Henri Cartier-Bresson has come to be thought of as the “Bible for photographers” – according to Robert Capa’s own words. Images à la Sauvette is the fruit of joined efforts of the famous art publisher, Tériade, the photographer himself, two American publishers, Simon and Schuster, and a painter – Henri Matisse, who designed the original jacket. The publication of the book represented a turning point in the life of the photographer who co-founded Magnum Photos only a few years earlier in 1947.

The French title was concepted with Cartier-Bresson’s brother-in-law and cinema historian Georges Sadoul, and evokes the snatchers or street peddlers. Cartier-Bresson attested that the meaning of this idiomatic expression, the street vendors ready to run at the first request for a license, is very akin to his approach to capturing images. Tériade would then prompt the Cardinal de Retz quote, the epigraph to Henri Cartier-Bresson’s introductory text: “There is nothing in this world which does not have its decisive moment”. The American publisher hesitated to use a translation of the original French title and opted for something punchier, The Decisive Moment.

An exhibition at the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation in Paris, which runs until April 23, 2017, presents a selection of vintage prints as well as numerous archival documents that revisit the history of this publication.

From January 11, 2017
To April 23, 2017

Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
2, impasse Lebouis
75014 Paris