Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2003/06/21

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Subject: Re: [Leica] HCB Did It All First
From: Eric Welch <>
Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2003 08:38:52 -0700

on 06/21/03 6:31 AM, bdcolen at wrote:

> Considering him one of the major artists of the last century - whose
> tool happened to be a camera - is hardly fawning, it's simply
> recognizing talent for what it is. There's a great deal of his work that
> doesn't move me, and I think the whole "decisive moment" mythology is
> largely a load of crap. BUT - I find I have to have real respect for
> aalmost all the work, including that that doesn't 'do it' for me. And I
> am particularly struck by that thought when I look at an enormous
> collection, such as that in the new book.

I agree, B.D. to a certain degree. The Decisive moment may be a description
of something much more common sounding (good timing). And I too find some of
his work a bit strange, or not all that great.

But we also have to remember, he did not have hundreds of great
photographers in history to build his visual vocabulary with. (He used
artists of other media for that). He does credit Andre Kertesz, rightly, for
influence. But Cartier-Bresson was a pioneer. We cannot judge his work the
say way we would judge current photography. He was on the cutting edge of
his day. Most photographers from that era have plenty to be criticized for.
But as pioneers, it's easy to understand why that makes their work much more
worthy of respect than if similar work is being done today - if one puts
some effort into it.

Eric Welch
Carlsbad, CA

"One of the things the White House will find is that the nature of Congress
is not to stand up and applaud every time the White House does something."

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