Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908–2004) was perhaps the finest and most influential image maker of the twentieth century, and his portraits are among his best-known work. Over a fifty-year period, he photographed some of the most eminent personalities of the era, as well as ordinary people, chosen as subjects because of their striking and unusual features.
Originally published to coincide with an exhibition at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris, this book features both well-known images and previously unpublished portraits: Ezra Pound, Andre Breton, Martin Luther King, Samuel Beckett, Truman Capote, Susan Sontag, Carl Jung, William Faulkner, Marilyn Monroe, Henri Matisse, and many more.
Each photograph was chosen because it perfectly embodies Cartier-Bresson’s description of what he was attempting to communicate in his work: “Above all I look for an inner silence. I seek to translate the personality and not an expression.” The portraits reproduced here—discreet, without artifice—confirm once more the singular gift of Cartier-Bresson, who instinctively knew in which revealing fraction of a second to click the shutter.
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