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

 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 adventurer in me felt obliged to testify with a quicker instrument than a brush to the scars of the world. 
 Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst. 
 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. 
 Thinking should be done beforehand and afterwards—never while actually taking a photograph. 
 All I care about these days is painting—photography has never been more than a way into painting, a sort of instant drawing. 
 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. 
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