While researching Henri Cartier-Bresson, I found a very interesting book at our school library called ‘Henri Cartier-Bresson in India’ . It has a plethora of photographs that he took on his several visits to India. Given my background I was obviously drawn to his work from my country. He has captured two of the most crucial events of India’s history; independence and the partition, and Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. This remarkable pictures are definitely one of the best I have seen from the time and of Mahatma Gandhi himself. In fact I wonder why my History text books haven’t had such incredible images.
However, on researching I realized that the majority of Cartier-Besson’s Indian photographs has nothing to do with political events. Most of them show ordinary people- in the streets, in the bazaars, as individuals and in masses – living their daily lives. In the foreword written by famous film maker Satyajit Ray, he says “The deep regard for people that is revealed in these Indian photographs, as well as in his photographs of any people anywhere in the world, invests them with a palpable humanism. Add to this the unique skill and vision that raise the ordinary and the ephemeral to a monumental level, and you have the hallmark of the greatest photographer of our time.”
Here are some of my favorite images from his collection:
I also came across a blog written by a faculty member of the National Institute of Design (one of the most prestigious and renowned schools of India) who has writtent a very interesting account of her interactions with Henri Cartier-Bresson on his fifth visit to India: