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Thursday, 28 January 2010


Hi Mike
2 quick HCB stories-
1/ In the mid 90s I wast taking a group of students around Paris and was standing on the bridge near Nortre Dame with a colleague and the students explaining this was the location of a famous HCB shot when an elderly man came up and started to talk to the students and at the end of the conversation he turned to me and said "I used to take a few photographs" - YES IT WAS, and whilst I knew his work I had never seen a photo of him but on returning to the UK I saw the now famous BBC documentary and there he was.
2/ When he celebrated his 90th there were a series of exhibitions in the UK and one of them remained on tour for a year. Even though I had seen it I went to visit the exhibition again in Liverpool at the Walker art gallery. I did not know that the gallery had a collection of his work and a film he made about Britain. I stood looking at one photograph of Wigan Rugby Club (my home town) with a famous player ( Billy Boston) scoring a try, suddenly my spine chilled as I realised I was 13 years old and a spectator at the match.
Silly I know but for me nice stories.
All the best and to everyone, catch the exhibitions if you can his breadth of work is tremendous.

Awesome. I am looking forward to this!

Sounds like a trip to NY is warranted for this Spring. Luckily for me, Boston is a cheap bus ride away from MoMA, but I feel sorry for those living in the South West US. Doesn't Austin have some important enough Art museum to warrant this exhibition?


I think what you are referring to above is already at Amazon.

I have to say, one funny thing about this whole affair: upon seeing the dates for the show at the NYC MoMA I decided to push my vacation to visit family back a week. I'll miss Easter, but at least I'll be able to catch the show. However going to the MoMA page tells me that there are already special events related to the show that are sold out. When I visited MoMA back in December they had stuff up mentioning HCB in the spring, but there were no dates yet, as I recall. So basically I just heard about the dates today and some stuff's already sold out... ya can't win.

Guess that's my sign to renew my membership to the High Museum.

Thanks for the heads up on this Mike! I look forward to seeing it in Chicago too!

if you are talking about 'The Decisive Moment' as a stand-alone book, you may be right. If you're talking about re-publishing the text, it was done by Aperture in June 2005 (ISBN: 0893818755) as part of the book 'The Mind's Eye'.
From the publisher's blurb; ""The Mind's Eye" features Cartier-Bresson's famous text on "the decisive moment" as well as his observations on Moscow, Cuba, and China during turbulent times, which ring with the same immediacy and visual intensity that he brings to his photography."

Could it be the same exhibit that I saw two years ago in Germany?

I always thought that was the name given to him by fellow Magnum photog Elliott Erwitt. I can't quite picture that crusty old frenchman referring to himself as "Hank Carter". Anyway, it's time to plan a road trip to see the exhibit when it hits Chicago.

Thanks for the head's-up about the catalog. I added the link you suggested to the post.


I actually have at least twenty of Cartier-Bresson's books and I love him. That said, he just had a huge show at ICP a couple of years ago and there are probably a few other masters who should be so honored while they are still living. I was happy that Robert Frank had his show at the Met and if I think about this for awhile, I think I could come up with a few more people who might be candidates for a non-posthumous exhibit...

Remember HCB might be my favorite of all time.

I'll second your response to Ken, Mike. I've never seen an HCB print other than a couple of books I have, so I'm going to try to get to NYC to see it. (MoMA in NYC is actually really great all around and I haven't been there in a while).

So while it may be common ground for some, it'll be all new to me.

Believe me, "The Mind's Eye" is nothing at all like "The Decisive Moment." I own them both.


Thanks Bill. I added that to the post as a footnote.


I've never seen an HCB exhibition so I hope something similar happens over here (in the UK). I've also never seen Groundhog Day but that's a little easier to take care of.

Mike, I believe it's Vivian Maier (can't pretend I knew that -- Google). I had the same response initially as Ken, but then I remembered the Robert Frank "Looking In" show, and how it cast new light (for me) on what I thought were overly familiar works. Hopefully the HCB show will do the same. Many of the Frank prints were quite large and allowed you to see new things in them.

I hope it comes to Seattle. Why do all the major exhibitions bypass Seattle?

Posted by: John Robison: "I hope it comes to Seattle. Why do all the major exhibitions bypass Seattle?"

I'm not very familiar with the Seattle Art Museum, John, so I don't know the specifics of their audience or curatorial inclinations. But I can tell you that a little demand pressure can go a long way towards bringing traveling exhibitions to cities. All art museums are really under the financial gun and most would welcome exhibits that would draw attendance at relatively low cost. Simple photo shows such as this one are usually relatively cheap to bring to town (depending on nit-picky details such as how many lenders are involved, what their insurance contracts stipulate, successive date commitments, etc.)--certainly as compared to, say, a large sculpture exhibit.

So fill your museum's mailbox with requests for such exhibitions. (It also helps if you step-up to join or make a donation!) Believe me, museums pay attention to all legitimate requests. It might be too late to score this show but....

Dear Mike,

Hah! Ya got me!

When I saw the headline in the sidebar I thought to myself, "Who is Hank Carter?! Is this another one of Mike's boring (to me) sports columns?"

pax / Ctein

To Bill Mitchell...

No offense, but you need to get out more...can't even begin to count the number of photographers who have created a large and wonderful body of work. You could do worse than starting with Strand.

This is not a reflection on HCB; rather, a comment on the rich history of the medium.

So when will you be there MIke? A flash mob of beards trenchcoats and carnations could be fun :) I have never seen any of his prints and am very exicited about this show. It was love at first sight with his work for thirty odd years ago. Thanks for the heads up

In many ways I would rather see a Gary Stochl show, and I am almost certain that I never will.


"Hah! Ya got me! When I saw the headline in the sidebar I thought to myself, 'Who is Hank Carter?! Is this another one of Mike's boring (to me) sports columns?'"

Just for you, I think I'll do a column on Ron Carter.



Dear Mike,

I'm sure I would be miffed if I knew who that was.

pax / Ctein

Posted by: V.I. Voltz : "In many ways I would rather see a Gary Stochl show, and I am almost certain that I never will."

You would have gotten your wish a few years ago! There was a show of his work here in Chicago when he was "discovered".

Now I'd like to see the late, and unknown, Vivian Maier's work exhibited. It's another helluva story (only partially known) of a helluva talented person, perhaps the equivalent of...well.

Oh boy oh boy.

I am a member of the Artic, and can bring a guest with me for free. So if you are so inclined, (and if we can make schedules match up) I would be pleased to bring you to the museum with me. And show you a thing or two about the town you hadn't seen before.


I saw my first Rothko this year. I sat down and it was like there was nobody else in the room, I thought I knew all there was to know about him, but seeing the painting in the flesh was like only ever having experienced daylight on TV and then walking out in to it for the first time.

Like many others I'm very familiar with Hank's work, but only in book form, I've never seen an individual print. Maybe If I had the chance to see one, I might know it better still. Alas, I'm on the wrong side of the pond for this one so I'm a bit envious, this morning.

Thanks for the offer--I might just take you up on that!


Rothko's are brilliant to say the least.

If you allow yourself to be seduced, they reward you like few other works of art. If you turn your nose up, they scoff right back at you.

It is a damn shame that the AIC owns 6 in their permanent collection, yet few if any are always on display. Maybe that will change with the new wing, but I suspect they travel quite a bit.

If you have yet to visit the new Modern Wing Mike, it's a treat for sure. The main hall is just the Architecture and the visitors.

I am excited to see the HCB show, and will likely view it numerous times. But few things fill a room, and make my day like the work of Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz)!

What a musician.

I live one and a half hours from MOMA. I'm going to see this show when it opens, and post enough details about the prints themselves that you midwesterners will be drooling on yourselves and standing in line to buy cheap plane tickets to LaGuardia.

I had seen one Rothko (in San Fran) and loved it, then was lucky to be in Washington DC for work when they had a retrospective of his work. No comparison to seeing them in a book. I wish I was still working the job that used to fly me to major cities in the US regularly (from Toronto). I don't know if I'll get to MOMA or to Chicago but the Hank exhibit is certainly a must-see if you live nearby.

If you have not seen Groundhog Day, rent it on a quiet night. I saw it in the movie theater when it came out and it had a profound effect on me.

Can't quite believe you have 30 comments and no one has speculated on which Leica M model that is and which lens and what classic "brassing" in that photo :-)

I am an admirer of HCB indeed I saw the "Scrapbook" exhibition over here in the UK and own a copy of "the Decisive Moment" but can I quote Paul Graham, a better photographer and writer than I will ever be, on classic documentary photography ?
"It was wonderful when it was invented. But it has to be alive, to grow, develop, just like the spoken word. We don’t speak the same way we spoke in 1938 or 1956, so why should we make pictures the same way? "

Yes we need to know and respect the past of photography but let's use it to move on too much of what I see today could well have been taken in 1936 or 1956.

This is a must see show. Back in the '80s the Philadelphia Museum of Art had a strong run of photography shows. I had the opportunity to see a Eugene Smith retrospective. I look forward to this show for another chance to see a master's work in person.

With all this talk about H C-B I decided to visit Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography to see the current show: Ihee Kimura & Henri Cartier-Bresson: Eastern Eye & Western Eye. I didn't really plan to go as I have never considered myself a great fan of HCB, but should add that I have only seen his photos in books.
The exhibition did not change this significanly. Around 60 of his iconical prints were on display and there were a few that I can now say that I can appreciate a little better now that I have seen it in person. As a comment to the HCB reluctance to have his picture taken: there is a very goofy photo of him on the cover of the catalogue taken by Kimura - maybe he is just one of those persons that looks bad when photographed?
Anyway: I do recommend the show, especially if you - like me - didn't know Ihee Kimura (around 90 prints).
Perhaps the most interesting part of the exhibition is the display of HCB and Kimura contact prints which gives an exceptional insight into their working methods.
The show ends on Feb 7 2010- so hurry if you are in the Tokyo area.

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