25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Categories: History

On January 17, 1955, Life magazine published Henri Cartier-Bresson's photo essay "The People of Russia". The famous Frenchman became one of the first Western journalists who received official permission to photograph ordinary Soviet citizens.

We present you some works from the "Soviet" series of the great photographer.

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Henri Cartier - Bresson (1908-2004) visited dozens of countries during his career as a photojournalist. He visited the Soviet Union twice, the first time in 1954.

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

The result of his trip was the publication in Life magazine in early 1955 and the photo album "Moscow"published in the same year. It was one of the first Western publications about the Soviet Union after World War II.

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Moscow. At the pedestrian crossing

In the mid‑1950s, after the publication of the book "The Decisive Moment", the authority of Cartier-Bresson was enormous. "How many words were devoted by various authors in various publications to him and his methods of work," recalled Valery Gende-Rote. — But how can you compare all this with the story of the "living" Bresson himself (he stayed with us in 1958 on the way to China). Cartier-Bresson showed us his book about Moscow." And then Valery Albertovich writes about the impression that Bresson's Moscow photographs made on him: "This quite friendly book does not consist of only masterpieces, but all the pictures published on its pages reflect the photographic credo of the author."

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Moscow. Opening of VDNH

The photographer himself expressed his attitude to photos from Russia even more clearly: when selecting images for his official portfolio at the beginning of the XXI century, he did not leave a single (!) photo from Russia. Is it an accident? "Cartier-Bresson was not happy in our country —" said Olga Sviblova, director of the Moscow House of Photography, in 2000. — When he gave me an interview a few years ago, when he started talking about Moscow, he lowered his voice to a whisper and covered the microphone with his hand. Moreover, he did not report anything terrible or secret. It's just that he's been living in fear since the seventies, the habit of hiding something all the time, talking about the Soviet Union or Russia." 

But at the same time, Cartier-Bresson was shooting in much hotter spots than Moscow in the 1950s and 1970s, and yet he had little to fear and went on dangerous journeys again and again. Perhaps the master "was not happy in our country" because he felt that it had not opened up to him, that he had not caught in it that cherished "decisive moment"? Unfortunately, we'll never know.

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

But it remains an indisputable fact that the photojournalist has truly changed the ideas of a whole generation of Russian photographers about documentary photography and the purpose of photojournalism.

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Moscow. July Sports Festival at the Dynamo Stadium»

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

At the Dynamo Stadium»

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Leningrad. May 1

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Leningrad. Buying a hat in the House of Leningrad trade

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Moscow. New buildings

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Moscow. In Gorky Park

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

In the same place (installation of a giant portrait of Gorky)

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

The girl in the park

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Soviet children

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Moscow. At a fashion show

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Collective farmers on a trip to the metro

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Church in Sokolniki

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Morning on Red Square

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Queue at the mausoleum

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Moscow. Cafeteria for construction workers at the Hotel Metropol

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Moscow. Vacationers in Serebryany Bor

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Moscow School in 1954

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

In GUM

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Street cleaning

25 frames of Henri Cartier-Bresson about Soviet life in 1954

Bakery

Keywords: Russian Federation | History | People | Photographer | USSR | 1950s

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