Henri Cartier-Bresson (French) was no ordinary photographer. He is considered to be the pioneer of street photography would be the very first influencer in the ‘decisive moment’ school of thought. He also was an earlier user of 35mm film.
He started out as a student of music which he would switch to art due to the influence of his late uncle. His tutelage began under Andre Lhote in Paris and, even though he would later become frustrated with Lhote, regarded him as his “..teacher of photography without a camera”.
Life would take Cartier-Bresson into the military where he ended up being placed under house-arrest for illegal hunting. This fortuitously landed him in the company of American Harry Crosby. Crosby convinced the commandant to release Cartier-Bresson into his custody and would also give him his first camera. They shared a love of photography and Crosby’s wife, Caresse (who holds the first patent for the modern bra), which eventually resulted in a heartbroken Cartier-Bresson moving to French colony Cote d’Ivoire where he would survive on hunting game which he sold to local villagers. He would also nearly end up dead from blackwater fever contracted during his stay.
Life, however, was still not done with him. He joined the French army at the start of World War II and was captured by ze Germans. After spending just short of three years in a labour camp he would escape (on his third attempt) and hide on a farm before travelling back to France. He then aided the underground in helping escapees out of occupied territory – all of this while covering the Occupation and Liberation of France.
Henri Cartier-Bresson would pass away in 2004 aged 95 giving us a clear equation for living a long life…