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An Inner Silence

The Portraits of Henri Cartier-Bresson

written by Jean-Luc Nancy, Agnès Sire

Thames and Hudson | ISBN 9780500288757

Paperback – 160 pages


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Henri Cartier-Bresson was perhaps the finest and most influential imagemaker of the 20th century, and his portraits are among his best-known work. Over a fifty-year period, he photographed some of the most eminent personalities of the era, as well as ordinary people, chosen as subjects because of their striking and unusual features. In 2003, the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, which was created to provide a permanent home for his collected works, opened in Paris. This book is published to coincide with the first exhibition at the Fondation that is drawn entirely from those archives, and it features both well-known images and previously unpublished portraits. Each photograph has been chosen because it perfectly embodies Cartier-Bresson’s description of what he was attempting to communicate in his work: ‘Above all I look for an inner silence. I seek to translate the personality and not an expression.’ The portraits reproduced here – discreet, without artifice – confirm once more the singular gift of Cartier-Bresson, who instinctively knew in which revealing fraction of a second to click the shutter.

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