I'm a fan of Henri Cartier-Bresson. It's no secret if you frequent my blog. I read anything by him (or about him) that I can get my hands on. His photogprahs inspired me long before his philosophy did, but now it all makes sense. His photographs inspire me because of what his philosophy is. His work is so pure. And so are his words. In some of my recent reading I consumed this tiny quote by Henri:
"Photography is nothing--it's life that interests me. "
I loved it and I hated it. A lot of Henri's writing eludes to this uncomfortbale truth that it isn't a great camera or even a great photogpraher that makes great photographs, but it is the willingness to insert yourself into life -- this collection of moments -- and capture the simplicity that exists then and there. That uncomplicated principle somehow managed to complicate my view of "portrait photography." That theory was more easily implemented into the art of wedding photography than it was into the ever-changing art of portraits. Capturing pure and raw emotion is almost involuntary when the emotion occurs natually, but it's a challenge when the constraints of "portraiture" enter...time-limits and newness and expectations. This is a challenge that I have come to adore. It stretches me and it irritates me; and sometimes I have victories and sometimes I don't. But for some reason I keep running towards it.
"There are those who take photographs arranged beforehand and those who go out to discover the image and seize it. 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 he frames through the viewfinder."
Thanks for the perpetual inspiration, Henri.
This week I am going to post some photos from recent journeys in portraiture. Today it is the wonderful Stafford family.