New Images Celebrate the Groundbreaking Photojournalist's Lasting Force
Henri Cartier-Bresson captures a trio of gentlemen in 1940s Harlem and an inquisitive Chihuahua poses for Jeff Mermelstein in this selection juxtaposing color snapshots from some of the 20th century's most notable photographers with the pioneering French lensman's stark black-and-white reportage. Taken from A Question of Color, the inaugural exhibition by Positive View Foundation curated by William Ewing for London's Somerset House, the photographs show the continued impact of Cartier-Bresson's ethos of "the decisive moment" in contemporary image-making, while revealing 10 gems from his oeuvre for the first time. The founder of the street shot, Cartier-Bresson is also known for his skepticism towards color photography, which was still in its early years during his 1950s heyday. "Visual curiosity is alive and well a half-century later, judging from the work of the 15 other photographers in the exhibition who—not necessarily intentionally—responded to Cartier-Bresson's argument that color would never achieve the heights of black and white," notes Ewing. Having curated exhibitions for New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the curator proposes a “challenge and response” between the 35mm aficionado and the photographers such as Joel Meyerowitz and Carolyn Drake who continue to be influenced by Cartier-Bresson, even in the multi-hued age of the digital camera.
A Question of Color will be at Somerset House from November 8, 2012 to January 27, 2013.