Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment at International Center of Photography (ICP), May 23 – September 2, 2018

Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment examines Cartier-Bresson’s influential publication, widely considered to be one of the most important photobooks of the twentieth century. Pioneering for its emphasis on the photograph itself as a unique narrative form, The Decisive Moment was described by Robert Capa as “a Bible for photographers.” Originally titled Images à la Sauvette (“images on the run”) in the French, the book was published in English with a new title, The Decisive Moment, which unintentionally imposed the motto which would define Cartier-Bresson’s work. The exhibition details how the decisions made by the collaborators in this major project—including Cartier-Bresson, French art publisher Tériade, American publisher Simon and Schuster, and Henri Matisse, who designed the book’s cover—have shaped our understanding of Cartier-Bresson’s photographs. Through vintage gelatin silver prints, first-edition publications, periodicals, and correspondence, Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment brings new insights to this iconic work. The exhibition was organized by the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson.” — ICP

Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment (Simon & Schuster, 1952), p. 16, “Chez Gégène,” Joinville-le-Pont, France, 1938. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment (Simon & Schuster, 1952), p. 19-20, Sunday on the Banks of the Seine, France, 1938. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment (Simon & Schuster, 1952), p. 32, Tivoli, Italy, 1933. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment (Simon & Schuster, 1952), p. 57, Downtown, Manhattan, New York, United States, 1947. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment (Simon & Schuster, 1952), p. 127–128, Last Days of The Kuomintang, Shanghai, China, December 1948–January 1949. © Henri Cartier- Bresson/Magnum Photos.

Images courtesy International Center of Photography.  

Title photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.