was a no-past no-future
state of existence
In a one page reminiscence, Mr. Zach Holland writes in the article, The Lost New Jersey Photographs of Henri Cartier-Bresson, in the New Yorker, (2/13/2023) about photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and the effort made to follow and make documentary of the photographer as he tried to capture the essence of New Jersey with his camera.
This took place in 1975.
Why New Jersey?
“Because people make such a funny face when you mention New Jersey,” said Cartier-Bresson.
A man named Peter Cunningham was assigned to be Cartier-Bresson’s assistant and Mr. Cunningham recalled that New Jersey was “… was a no-past, no-future state of existence.“
Mr. Holland writes that, “To Cartier-Bresson, a master of formal composition, the confinement appealed. “Everybody is trapped by something,” he told Evans.
“For me, liberty is a strict frame of reference, and inside that frame of reference all the variations are possible.”
The project fell apart as the documentary was to be on television and the producer said they would have to crop photographs to fit the 4×3 aspect ratio of the TV.
Cartier-Bresson felt that once he snapped the picture, the image was complete and any alteration was a “degeneration.”
The documentary was never made and the photographs have sat on a shelf since 1975 and are just now being released.
It is an odd thing about photographs is that I have long argued that the camera eliminated the need for mastering a craft like sculpture or painting.
The camera, as far as tools went, leveled the playing field between artists and others.
That’s the concept.
Somehow though the artist still makes a difference.
Is it that because the artist has the title, we look at the pictures created by the artist with a different respect?
I don’t know.
I look at this image of the cars waiting to cross the George Washington Bridge.
At the same time its just a picture of a bunch of cars and it is also a photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Henri Cartier-Bresson, the champion of the decisive moment.
I know what Henri Cartier-Bresson wanted to capture.
And I look at the photograph of the cars and I ask myself, what did Henri Cartier-Bresson see?
What makes this moment the decisive moment?
Here is expressed that liberty is a strict frame of reference, and inside that frame of reference all the variations are possible.
All these cars.
All these people in the cars.
A no-past, no-future state of existence.
Its also a picture of a bunch of cars.
Maybe this is what is meant when they say and artist just holds up the mirror and you see what you bring in front of the mirror.
I count seven kids in the photo of the kids running across the street.
I want to know … what’s in the bag for lunch?