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

 The world is going to pieces and people like Adams and Weston are photographing rocks! (1930s) 
 One must creep up to the subject on tip toes, even when it involves a still life. One must put on velvet gloves and have Argus eyes. No pushing or crowding: an angler doesn’t stir up the waters beforehand. 
 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. 
 All I care about these days is painting—photography has never been more than a way into painting, a sort of instant drawing. 
 Thinking should be done beforehand and afterwards—never while actually taking a photograph. 
 I am a pack of nerves while waiting for the moment, and this feeling grows and grows and grows and then it explodes, it is a physical joy, a dance, space and time united. Yes, yes, yes, yes! 
 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. 
 What do you think I’m a professor of? The little finger? (On offers of honorary doctorates.) 
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