Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/12/11

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Subject: [Leica] From the man himself
From: Dan Cardish <>
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 14:33:09 -0500

This is a copy of a post I made to the LUG a few years ago, but I thought
it might be appropriate to post it again

May the copyright gods forgive me.

This is a letter to the editor written by Henri Cartier Bresson published
in the November/December 1997 issue of American Photo magazine.  I have
copied it here completely.  The most interesting paragraph is the second to
last.  My interjections are in [square brackets].  I am assuming the letter
itself is  copyright Henri Cartier Bresson and/or American Photo.

"Yesterday, just before leaving Provence, I received the issue of American
Photo [Sept/Oct 1997] that gives such an important space to what has kept
me busy for some 70 years.  I want to thank you for it and to transmit my
thanks to everyone who took the trouble to write about my shooting.

"May I express one reservation-the text relating to money matters, i.e.,
print sales.  Would you please stress in your next issue that my
representative for collector prints is Helen Wright, 135 E. 74th St., New
York, NY 10021, and that all sales of these prints-to individual collectors
and dealers alike-are made through her.

"Would you also please also point out that as far as photography is
concerned, I only enjoyed, and still do, the actual shooting.  Printing has
never been a pleasure.  Real [italicized in original] vintage prints,
meaning that I printed them with trouble by myself at about the time the
photograph was taken were few.  Many of these were given to Julien Levy,
who have me my first U.S. exhibit.  As far as I can remember, I also gave
several prints to Lincoln Kirstein, Beaumont and Nancy Newhall, Monroe
Wheeler, Dorothy Norman, and other close friends as souvenirs, tokens of
friendship.  If I had not, I should try and print again for them.  Anyhow,
one does not keep accounts of friendships.

"All the so-called vintage prints I have heard of that are on the
market-those with the Magnum agency stamp-were printed in a rush for
magazine publication, and I never [italicized in original] gave them even a
glance of approval.  After publication they remained in the drawers of the
archives of various magazines or agents waiting for future publication.
The engraving prints for my books are put aside and have never been for
sale.  As far as I am concerned, printing is a profession.  Printers spend
their time in the dark in a communion of vision with the photographer, and
I then sign the result of this team work-a real collaboration.

"I am sorry to bother you with all this, but I felt it necessary to clarify
my thoughts about the few prints I made myself before the war, or just
after, as a token of friendship."

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