Henri Cartier-Bresson
[Photographer and painter, b. 1908, Chanteloup, France, d. 2004, Paris.]

 I was marked, not by Surrealist painting, but by the conceptions of Breton [which] satisfied me a great deal: the role of spontaneous expression and of intuition and, above all, the attitude of revolt. 
 Photography has not changed since its origin except in its technical aspects, which for me are not a major concern. 
 I love painting. As far as photography is concerned, I understand nothing. 
 Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst. 
 The world is going to pieces and people like Adams and Weston are photographing rocks! (1930s) 
 We are always struggling with time: whatever has gone has gone forever. The time element is the key to photography. One must seize the moment before it passes, the fleeting gesture, the evanescent smile. For it is impossible to “start again.” That’s why I am so nervous—it’s horrible for my friends—but it’s only by maintaining a permanent tension that I can stick to reality. 
 The camera can be a machine gun, a warm kiss, a sketchbook. Shooting a camera is like saying, “Yes, yes, yes.” There is no “maybe.” All the “maybes” should go in the trash. 
 I’m not responsible for my photographs. Photography is not documentary, but intuition, a poetic experience. It’s drowning yourself, dissolving yourself and then sniff, sniff, sniff—being sensitive to coincidence. You can’t go looking for it; you can’t want it, or you won’t get it. First you must lose your self. Then it happens. 
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