“For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. In order to ‘give a meaning’ to the world, one has to feel oneself involved in what one frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, a discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry – it is by great economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression.” HCB
Hard to get to, with crazy hours, and few Cartier-Bresson prints on view, a visit to this small museum in Paris is a worthwhile outing for serious fans of photography. Opened in 2003, the two floor gallery housed in an art-deco atelier built by Molinié in 1912, hosts three annual shows featuring masters of the medium.
Cartier-Bresson started a tradition of testing new camera lenses by taking photographs of ducks in urban parks. He never published the images but referred to them as ‘my only superstition’ as he considered it a ‘baptism’ of the lens. He disliked publicity and exhibited a ferocious shyness. Although he took many famous portraits, his face was little known to the world at large. This, presumably, helped allow him to work on the street undisturbed. He denied that the term “art” applied his photographs. Instead, he thought that they were merely his gut reactions to fleeting situations that he had happened upon.
“We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.” – HCB
Check their website to gain some background on the featured photographer. Cartier-Bresson’s originals are on the upper floor.
Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
2, Impasse Lebouis, 75014 Paris
Tel : 01 56 80 27 00
Gaité, line 13, exit n°1, towards rue de l’Ouest
Edgard Quinet, line n°6, towards rue de la Gaité
Bus: Line 28 and 58 Losserand-Maine stop; Line 88, Jean Zay – Maine stop
Tuesday to Sunday, 1pm to 6:30pm, and Saturday from 11am to 6:45pm.
Late-night openings: Wednesdays until 8:30pm
Last entry: 30 mins before closing time
Closed on Mondays
7 € full-price
4 € reduced price: jobseekers, persons under 26 or over 60 years-old
Free admission for handicapped visitors, journalists, Friends of the Foundation and during late-night openings on Wednesdays (6:30pm – 8:30pm)