Essay PreviewMore ↓
To fully understand Cartier-Bresson’s pictures, one must first understand his artistic philosophy. Born in 1908 in Chanteloup, near Paris Cartier-Bresson’s passion for photography erupted from his love for the early motion pictures. As he would later say, “From some of the great films, I learned to look, and to see.” Films such as Eisenstein’s Potemkin and Dreyer’s Jeanne d’Arc “impressed [him] deeply”. Cartier-Bresson yearned to capture real life. He believed in order to do this the subject must be oblivious to the photographer. Indeed, he has never in his professional career contrived a setting or arranged a photograph, an outlook that stems from his strong belief that the photographer should blend into the environment and not influence the behavior of his subject. Cartier-Bresson sees photography as, “…a way of shouting, of freeing oneself, not of proving or asserting one’s own originality.”
Cartier-Bresson worked only with a Leica camera, one of the quietest and fastest of the day. The Leica camera was perfect for Cartier-Bressons documentary style photography, but as an added effect he put black tape over the metallic front as to remain as hidden as possible, a technique that has been copied ever since. He used mainly a 50mm lens and black and white film. Cartier-Bresson shot his pictures with a 50mm lens, because in order to capture a decisive moment, one must be ready at any given instant, not allowing time to change lenses. Also, maintaining the full size of the original photograph was very important to Cartier-Bresson. He felt that cropping a picture would dilute its meaning.
Cartier-Bresson’s use of black and white film is a result of the technology of his day. Though color film was available as early as 1907, it remained difficult to use until the 1970’s. The early color film emulsions were very slow; causing close shots to look cramped. Also, blurred backgrounds in color were much less acceptable than they were in black and white. These limitations caused early color photographs to confine themselves to static subject or bright lights. So as a spontaneous photojournalist Cartier-Bresson had little choice in the matter.
How to Cite this Page
"Behind The Gare Saint-Lazare." 123HelpMe.com. 23 Oct 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- ... These erections were made in order to recognize St Non not just because she was the mother of Saint David but also because she was seen to represent the character of holiness and purity. It is believed that Saint Non spent a lot of her life celibate. She is thought to have started a convent which is where she resided. L- The ruins of St Non’s Chapel (Capel Non) R- St Non’s well There is less known about the life of St. David’s father in comparison to his mother. In many places, he is listed as Sant which is welsh for saint but many believe that this is not his real name.... [tags: UK's national saints, patron saints of Wales]
1168 words (3.3 pages)
- A beautiful woman, loved by her parents, apple of her father’s eye, and yet kept alone, one would not think this young lady would be connected to the powerful Air Defense Artillery, however, this young woman is the Patron Saint of the Air Defense Artillery. Her name is Barbara and she was executed long before her time, but when she died, a most extraordinary event occurred, to make her the center of the Air Defense Artillery. Upon her death, a lightning bolt came from the sky and killed her father as he was walking home.... [tags: biography, christianity, saint of artillery]
970 words (2.8 pages)
- An Analysis of Wright’s Poem Saint Judas Upon reading the poem "Saint Judas" by James Wright, the reader quickly realizes that the poem deals with Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus' twelve apostles. The author describes Judas as "going out to kill himself,"(line 1) when he sees a man being beaten by "a pack of hoodlums"(2). Judas quickly runs to help the man, forgetting "how [his] day began"(4). He leaves his rope behind and, ignoring the soldiers around him, runs to help. Finally, he remembers the circumstances that surround his suicidal intentions and realizes that he is "banished from heaven"(9) and "without hope"(13) He runs to the man anyway and holds him "for nothing in [his]... [tags: Saint Judas]
740 words (2.1 pages)
- ... The Government ACt of 1935 and Constituent Assembly Debates from 1947 to 1950, added a dimension to the ideas about the environment. The assembly debates focused on which of the two governments would administer to what areas of economy and society. The federal government really favored the management of land and other aspects of of human development and only some areas considered central admission. Today, the effects in history since independence can be seen (Environment, Law, and Democracy in India 1,2).... [tags: smile, saint, teaching, fame, charity]
2232 words (6.4 pages)
- The Story of Saint Catherine’s Prison “Near Famagusta is another city called Salamis, set on the seashore, where there was once a noble and wealthy city. It is there that St. Catherine was born and her tomb remains still.” ~ German priest Ludolf von Suchen of Westphalia In the 12th century, the story of the beloved St. Catherine was brought to Europe by the Crusaders returning from their battles in the East. She was from a noble blood line of Roman emperors and her father was Constantine, King of Salamis.... [tags: Saint Catherine]
446 words (1.3 pages)
- Fast Track To Being A Saint There is no waiting list to become a saint. Instant access, like the internet, is now available if one can prove a few miracles and get enough people to rally in ones' behalf to become a saint in less than a few years. On May 9, 2005, Pope Benedict read a letter in which "he asked the head of the Vatican Congregation, for the causes of saints, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, to waive the five-year waiting period between the time of a person's death and when the process for beatification, a key step toward sainthood, can begin (Fisher and Goodstein1).... [tags: Pope John Paul Saint]
1719 words (4.9 pages)
- Biography of Saint Francis of Assissi 1. Birth Saint Francis was born Giovanni Bernadone in either 1181 or 1182 in the Italian hill town of Assisi. His parents, Pietro and Pica, were members of the rather well-to-do merchant class of the town. Pioetro Bernadone was away in France when his son was born. On his return, he had the boy's name changed from Giovanni to Franceso (“The Little Frenchman”-perhaps a tribute to France, a country he loved and from which his wife's family came). Saint Francis of Assisi, was born in 1182, more probably in the latter year.... [tags: Saint Francis Italy Religion Essays]
3708 words (10.6 pages)
- Fantastic Elements of Saint George and The Dragon Margaret Hodges adapted "Saint George and The Dragon" from its original work that was written by Edmund Spencer. "Saint George and The Dragon" is a short story that was published in 1984. Margaret Hodges, who adapted this fantastic literature, is from North America. " Saint George and The Dragon" shows many characteristic of Magical Realism; however, it is Fantastic Literature. "Saint George and The Dragon" is similar to Magical Realism because the characters within the story treat the events as a normal occurrence.... [tags: Saint George and The Dragon]
1093 words (3.1 pages)
- Saint George and the Dragon as Fantastic Literature Set "in the days when monsters and giants and fairy folk lived," Margaret Hodges' tale Saint George and the Dragon brings to the world of children Edmund Spenser's classic Faerie Queene. Retold in children's format in 1984, Saint George and the Dragon is based upon Spenser's English legend of the sixteenth century. Through examination of the characteristics that describe fantastic and magical realist literature, a more concise understanding of magical realism can be obtained.... [tags: Saint George and the Dragon Essays]
1173 words (3.4 pages)
- Saint Francis of Assisi (1182-10/4/1226) was born into a well-off family unit at Assisi, Italy, the son of a wealthy merchant named Pietro di Bernardone. Francis received little formal education and during his formative years. As an adolescent, he was all the rage, attractive, appealing and was mostly preoccupied in having fun; enjoying practical jokes and was usually the central source of entertainment of the party. Francis was brought up in luxury and cheerfulness. He spent a substantial segment of his possessions in wasteful pleasures.... [tags: History Biography Saint Italy Assisi]
1801 words (5.1 pages)
Cartier-Bresson invested little of his time into the technical aspects of photography. He believed that the photographer who focuses on technique misses the real purpose of photography. In fact, throughout his career,
Cartier-Bresson had someone else develop and alter his photographs. He believed the value of a photograph was determined by the “intelligence and sensitivity” of the photographer, not the accuracy of the technique.
“Behind the Gare Saint Lazaire” remains his most famous picture. Taken in Paris in 1932, this picture exemplifies Cartier-Bresson’s use of the decisive moment and justifies his love for natural spontaneity. The vertical, black and white, close range, photograph is of a man who is blurred due to haste. Though it is not raining in the picture, we know it has been raining due to the reflective puddle that covers the ground. The area must be under renovation, due to the pile of rocks and the wheelbarrow in the background and the ladder and metal rings lying in the foreground. In the distance there is a man standing by the gate looking away from the camera towards train station, and beside him are several posters on the fence.
Apart from the obvious “decisive moment” of the man frozen in mid air about to cause a huge splash, there is a great and much more amusing inference, which can be gathered. In the background, there is a poster of a leaping dancer mimicking the man’s jump and the less obvious leaping of the clock hand, which is faintly seen above. The adjacent poster with the words RAILOWSKY announces a circus event, giving the picture a new symbolism. In this context, the leaping man becomes a graceful circus acrobat and the horizontal ladder and metal rings echoes those used in juggling and trapeze acts. Like that mirror reflection of the man in the water, this is a case of life imitating art and art imitating life. Since his customers are magazine editors, Cartier-Bresson’s audience varies with the magazine that publishes his work. Though most periodicals that would print photojournalism would probley contain a social element, such as National Geographic.
For me, “Behind the Gare Saint Lazare” represents the ever present, but often unnoticed humor in life. Hardly anyone, least of whom myself, could register in a fraction of a second the serendipitous coincidence of the man and the posters, not to mention trying to take a picture and getting the shot while the man was still in mid air. I think it is too easy to study the photograph and analyze it, without taking into account the miracle that the photo was taken at all. “Behind the Gare Saint Lazaire” is not a particularly beautiful photograph and the clarity is not as crisp as the technology of the day could have allowed, but the value of the subject matter makes these observations negligible. As Cartier-Bresson said, “Technique is important only insofar as you must master it in order to communicate what you see.” I think that what needs to be taken from this picture is an awareness that perhaps irony and humor are more present in our lives then we notice. Cartier-Bresson’s gift as a photographer is his ability to capture the emotion and irony of life that most people, the man standing in the background included, would miss.