As a founding father of modern photojournalism, Henri Cartier-Bresson is best known for the inventive skill with which he captured the most fleeting scenes, known as “the decisive moment.” He is one of the most influential and beloved figures in the history of the medium. He studied painting before taking up photography in his early twenties and helping to develop the “street photography” style, which would influence generations of photographers that followed. Following World War II, Henri Cartier-Bresson helped found the Magnum photo agency, together with Robert Capa and others, which enabled photojournalists to reach a broad audience, while retaining control over their work.
Henri Cartier-Bresson would go on to produce major bodies of photographic reportage, capturing such events as China during the revolution, the Soviet Union after Stalin’s death, the United States in the postwar boom and Europe as its older cultures confronted modern realities. From 1968, Henri Cartier-Bresson began to curtail his photographic activities, and stopped photographing altogether in 1975. Throughout his 45-year career, Bresson received an extraordinary number of awards, including the Grand Prix National de la Photographie in 1981. His work has been the subject of numerous published monographs and exhibitions, and is included in many important international collections.