Henri Cartier Bresson – a master of snapshot photography

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(777 Words)

Henri Cartier Bresson’s photos are masterpieces of snapshot photography. On viewing his portfolio, two examples of his work attracted my attention and imagination. The first photo, I viewed, was taken in France of ‘The Var Department, Hyères’ in 1932 and in the other one in Paris of ‘Behind Saint-Lazare’ also taken in 1932.  I will express, in this essay, how these two classic photos show Bresson’s perfect timing to capture life in action that on the surface seems plain in its black and white imagery but what underlies them, I can see, is a master photographer in action.

To begin with ‘Behind Saint-Lazare’ is a stand-out photo for me, one that is multi-dimensional. I only had to observe the symmetry of the reflections of the gentleman, the railings, and the building in the water to observe an angelic feature to the obvious bleakness of the photo. The wrought fencing, the station building, the workmen, and the debris portray a world of industry.

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Photograph of the day – Khao Yai Bats

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On a trip in the national park of Khao Yai in central Thailand, we were told of the river of bats that stream out of the side of the mountain at night to eat. Duly fascinated, we drove from our rented cabin in the park to the destination not too far away. We parked the car and made out the way by foot along a dirt track to the base of the mountain then stood and waited in one of the many manioc fields. As we looked up at the side of the mountain, we could see that there were holes/caves where apparently the bats would come from. The best time to see the bats we were told was dusk. The sunset anticipation and excitement were increasing. In what appeared to be the start of the bats exiting the cave, we thought we had seen what we came for as a trickle of bats appeared. People started to point and shout. However, suddenly thousands upon thousands of the bats emerged to hunt the flying insects in the late day sky as the sun went down. We stood there in amazement as the snake-like movement of all the bats closely packed together weaved its way across the Khao Yai twilight. It is a sight not to be missed.