Henri Cartier-Bresson — Street Photography

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Instead of a specific photograph, I chose to focus on an artist from a genre that I found interesting in class, street photography. This genre is interesting to me because it reminds me of candid photography. The reason that this is interesting to me is because with the availability of digital cameras, smart phones, etc., almost anyone can be a “photographer.” Most of the pictures that these amateurs take are candid photos. The juxtaposition of actual street photography and street photography is something I really wanted to explore in this assignment. Are the two similar? Or, is there really a talent involved? I tried my hand at this genre, by attempting to remake some of the works of the father of street photography, Henri Cartier-Bresson.   

Image      Image

Cartier-Bresson                                                                                            Akinrinade

This weekend I went to New York to see the Nigerian Independence parade. While I was exploring the city, I caught a glimpse of this performance. I knew that I wanted to capture this image because of its usage of movement. Cartier-Bresson’s photograph also features movement. His image however, features a lot of geometry. The lines on rails and the downward direct of the steps lead the audience’s eye to the bike rider. Although I did not incorporate lines into my own image, I feel that I was successful in drawing the audience’s eye to the subjects of this photo (dancers) by making sure that the they were pretty much the only things in the photography. I had no control over the lighting because it was inside of a building with spotlights. I did however make my image black and white to mimic Cartier-Bresson’s style. I feel that although my photograph is interesting, because it is so close to the subject, the photograph loses a little bit of that excitement factor. Had there been more of a background included, the subjects would have looked a little more interesting in comparison. The way the image is now, what I intended to be the subjects could almost be seen as the foreground, while the girls in the background are the subjects.

matches women        2

Cartier-Bresson                                                                    Akinrinade

I absolutely loved these two pictures. I think that I did an excellent job here. I wanted to make sure that just like Cartier-Bresson, I captured an element of the human condition. I stumbled upon these women during a walk in Dupont Friday morning. I could only take one image here because I thought it was a little rude for my to take pictures of these women without their knowledge. What makes my photo slightly different is that while two women in Cartier-Bresson’s photo are the subject, my subject appears to be the woman on the step because her body is facing the audience. I also helped make her the subject by utilizing the stairs in the background. They have horizontal lines which lead the eye of the audience to her. The lighting was the sunlight since I took this picture outside. I am extremely satisfied with this photo. I am more excited because since it was the one and only photo that I took, yet it came out exactly how I wanted it to. I also think that I accurately channeled Cartier-Bresson’s technique in this photo because he was a master of being unobtrusive, or staying as lowkey as possible when taking pictures. I did something very similar because I doubt that the women even noticed I as there.

matches shoes       photo

Cartier-Bresson                                                                   Akinrinade

With this photo I wanted to focus on another one of Cartier-Bresson’s techniques which was not cropping. He is notorious for not cropping any of his photos. I chose to redo this one because it would emphasize this concept. In order for me to get a similar picture, I would have to change my point of view. To get the picture that I took above, I had to get down onto my knees. I took several shots here and finally decided upon this one because I like how only one of the students is face backwards while everyone else facing the left. Even though I did not have much of a background in this photograph, there still appears to be a clear difference between subject and background because of their directions. I chose to take this photo under the hooded area in front of MGC because I wanted to get a lot of shadow. Cartier-Bresson’s photo does not have a lot of shadows around the subjects, but their clothes have lots of shadows on them so I wanted to make sure that there was not too much light in my photo so that I could achieve something similar. I think this photo was successful because it allowed for a different point of view and allowed me a chance to take photos of people where there was not a single face in the shot. I also think that my photo also illustrates the theme/idea of human conversation just like Cartier-Bresson’s photograph.

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