Watch the Henri Cartier-Bresson documentary ‘L’amour de court’ (‘Just plain love’, 2001)
available in five parts on YouTube:
Write a personal response to the film in the contextual section of your learning log,
taking care to reference properly any quotations you use (300–500 words).
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take directly from the source in quotation marks and note down full bibliographic
details. If you do this, you won’t have to spend ages hunting for half-remembered
references later – and you won’t inadvertently plagiarise someone else’s work.
Always use Harvard referencing; print out the study guide on the student website
and keep this to hand.
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the OCA learning blog study guide says about copyright law and fair use or fair
Parts 4 and 5 of the Henri Cartier-Bresson video ‘L’amour tout court’ have had the
audio muted by YouTube owing to copyright. However, the subtitles are still
included in the video which does allow the conversation to be followed without
‘L’amour tout court’ is also available on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/106009378
The YouTube excerpts of the Henri Cartier-Bresson documentary ‘L’amour de court’ started with Henri mentioning that he escaped from prison. I looked into this for more details and found out that he was captured during the Second World War. From his confinement in forced labour camps he finally escaped after two failed attempts. He says in the video ‘I always feel like a prisoner on the run.’ (‘L’amour de court’, 2001). It is my opinion that this experience has been one of the major driving forces to his developed style of photography.
Shortly after this Henri comments ‘It’s always luck. It’s luck that matters… just be receptive and it happens’ (‘L’amour de court’, 2001). But this I think is more down to his uncanny awareness, heightened by that feeling of being on the run; always aware, always, looking, always listening, always searching. Using this amplified sense of awareness allows him to instinctively understand the geometry of what he sees and visualise the golden proportions within his field of view, enabling him to take images that seem naturally balanced. In this way he selects his framing waiting for the decisive moment, in anticipation of his target moving into the perfect position.
He lets the viewer into a few trade secrets. When with other people he tunes out, to him taking photographs demands ultimate concentration. Yet to those around him when he is taking photographs he seems to converse as if aware of them, though he confesses to talking nonsense. While taking photos he does his utmost to blend in with and become one with the scene, gentle and unobtrusive. To the point that he painted all the shining parts of his Leica black so that the camera attracts the minimal attention. ’I look, I look, it’s an obsession’, he muses (‘L’amour de court’, 2001).
My overall impression of Henri Cartier-Bresson is one of deep and profound awe. He demonstrates such amazing spatial awareness and a sensitivity to his surroundings, it is almost magical.
‘L’amour de court’ parts 1-5, 2001 YouTube video, added by Rangefindergeneral [Online]. Available at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL707C8F898605E0BF (Accessed 2 April 2017).