10 Things Henri Cartier-Bresson Can Teach You About Street Photography
by Eric Kim on August 22, 2011
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In preparation for my upcoming street photography workshops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago I have been doing quite a bit of research into Henri Cartier-Bresson, the Godfather of street photography. LA-based Bo Lorentzen even lent me a copy of a documentary on HCB himself, which was quite insightful about his approach to street photography (as well as footage of him shooting on the streets of Paris).
Although my current approach in street photography is more like Bruce Gilden and less of Henri Cartier-Bresson, HCB influenced much of my earlier work and I still deeply respect his photography and philosophies. I hope you are able to enjoy these things I believe you can learn from Henri Cartier-Bresson about street photography. Keep reading to become inspired and learn more.
1. Focus on geometry
If you look at the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, he applied geometry to his images poetically. If you look at the composition of his images he integrated vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines, curves, shadows, triangles, circles, and squares to his advantage. He also paid particular attention to frames as well.
Don’t only see the world as it is, look for shapes and geometry that occur naturally as well. Open up your mind and break your environment into different formal elements. Look for lines that may lead to your subjects or squares that may frame your image. Become poetic with your images and integrate interesting actors and stages when you are out shooting.