Saturday, March 17, 2007

To See Like Henri

"In 1944, he (Henri Cartier-Bresson) stayed with Matisse at Vence, then for a week with Bonnard at Le Cannat. "We were chatting, and mostly he was quite silent," he says of Bonnard. "Suddenly, when I raised my camera, he put his scarf over his face. So I put my camera down. Finally, I managed to take a picture and he asked, 'But why did you take it at that moment, why?' And I said, 'Excuse me, but why have you just put that yellow there?'"

"Goethe wrote that the best way to understand a painting was by drawing it, and he's right. How many people have been here? (Musee National d'Art Moderne) A dozen? More? And they don't look. They all have their cameras. But looking is meditating, and how can you meditate and look through a camera at the same time?" -Henri Cartier-Bresson
Source: Portraits by Michael Kimmelman
Image: Photograph of Pierre Bonnard by Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1944

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