Born in Chanteloup-en-Brie in 1908, he is considered the father of photojournalism.
In 1930, during his first trip to the Ivory Coast, although not still interested in photography, is equipped with a camera and on his return from that trip, he becomes interested in the continuous search to immortalize reality.
He loved to say: “To photograph is to recognize in the same instant and in a fraction of a second, an event and the rigorous arrangement of the forms perceived with the gaze that express and signify this event. It is to place the mind, the eyes and the heart on the same line of sight. It is a way of life ”.
It is Cartier-Bresson himself who tells us how it was a photograph of Martin Munkacsi that convinced him and it was thus that in 1932 he bought his first camera, a Leica 1.35mm with 50mm lens which will accompany you for many years.
In 1934, he knows David Szymin , a Polish photographer and intellectual, who later changed his name to David Seymour (1911–1956). They have a lot in common culturally and quickly become good friends.
It will be Szymin who will introduce the young Bresson to a Hungarian photographer, Endré Friedmann, who will later be remembered as Robert Capa .
In September 1939, the Second World War broke out and Bresson joined the film and photo unit of the French army.
In June 1940, during the French Campaign, captured by the Germans, he was imprisoned in a prison camp from which he escaped after two failed attempts.
In 1943 in Paris he photographed the liberation. He directs the film “Le Retour”.
In the following years he is in the United States, where he photographs for Harper's Bazaar . In his career he has also portrayed important personalities in all fields; Balthus, Albert Camus, Truman Capote, Coco Chanel, Marcel Duchamp, William Faulkner, Mahatma Gandhi, John Huston, Martin Luther King, Henri Matisse, Marilyn Monroe, Richard Nixon, Robert Oppenheimer, Ezra Pound, Jean-Paul Sartre and Igor Stravinsky. In 1947 he founded, together with Robert Capa, George Rodger, David Seymour, and William Vandivert the famous Magnum Photos .
He will start countless trips in which he will make multiple reports that will give him world fame.
Between '48 and '50 he established himself as a photojournalist, travels to India, Burma, Pakistan, China and Indonesia date back to this period, where he reports on important political events, and the same culture of distant countries. Then for Life magazine he made a report on the advance of the Red Army in Beijing.
The 1950s will take away two great friends and colleagues from Bresson, both Capa and Seymour die while working. with whom he had shared many experiences such as the Spanish Civil War, World War II and the Magnum Agency.
In 1979 an exhibition tribute to the genius of photojournalism and reportage was organized in New York. He died in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue on 3 August 2004 at the age of 95.
After his youth studies, initially disinterested in photography, Henri was attracted to painting, especially Surrealism.