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Cartier-Bresson thinking:
"If I could have been there, on this 24th November!"

(Cartier-Bresson is the reknown photographer
who has taken the photographs of Sri Aurobindo in August 1950, short before his Mahasamadhi)

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The Mother about Cartier-Bresson's last photos (in August 1950):

The photo in the armchair ... it's a bit too late; he [= Sri Aurobindo] was already beginning to feel that ... the world wasn't ready to go to the end. There is already the expression of suffering on his face. [...] As for Cartier-Bresson's photos, they were taken in 1950. [...] When I saw the photo, when I saw he had that expression ...
Because, with me, he never had it; he never showed it.
But I wasn't in the room when the photo was taken, and suddenly he ... (he was sitting there, of course), he slackened. When I saw the photo (because they came long after, we had to write and ask them to send them), I was dumbfounded.... He had that expression.
I always saw him with a perfectly peaceful and smiling face, and above all, the dominant expression was compassion. That was what predominated in his appearance. An expression of compassion so ... so peaceful, so tranquil, oh, magnificent.

From Mother's Agenda, volume 6, 16 June 1965. Online translation.
(this part of the talk has been tape-recorded and is available on cassette)

From an online-article on Cartier-Bresson for a photo-seminar (original and full text here)

He [= Cartier-Bresson] has said that a sense of human dignity is an essential quality for any photojournalist, and feels that no picture, regardless of how brilliant from a visual or technical standpoint, can be successful unless it grows from love and comprehension of people and an awareness of " man facing his fate."
Many of his portraits of William Faulkner and other notables have become definitive, catching as they do, with relaxed and casual brilliance, the essence of personality.
His first book contained an often-quoted paragraph that sums up his approach to photography and has become something of a creed for candid, available light photojournalists everywhere. The decisive moment, as Cartier-Bresson tersely defined it, is " the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression."

Today, November 24, 2001, Henri Cartier-Bresson is still alive. He is 93 years old.

More about Cartier-Bresson on the Web:
- Excellent article and biography by Stuart Nolan and Barbara Slaughter on the World Socialist Web Site;
- Another excellent article and biography by Philip Brookman on the Washington Post site.
- Gallery of photos (taken from the big exhibition "Tête à Tête") on two sites: Washington Post Start-page & Portraits by Cartier-Bresson

Montage made for the Siddhi-Day 24 November 2001
(more on the Siddhi-day HERE)

JPG Version (82 Kb)

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