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Monday, April 10, 2006

'The Decisive Moment'

Later today I should be receiving a copy of Henri Cartier-Bresson's 1952 book The Decisive Moment to sell on commission. The owner is an artist on Martha's Vineyard. It is of course one of the towering masterpieces of the photographic book, cited in Badger and Parr, Roth, the ICP's "The Open Book," etc. It is a fragile book, so it's genuinely rare in good condition. I'll post details and pictures soon.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too rich for my blood, but I did actually handle one about twenty-five years ago and could have bought it for $200 (which I didn't have!). I collect photo books and have several other Cartier-Bressons, but not that one. "The Decisive Moment" is one of the few truly seminal photographic books, as is Robert Frank's "The Americans." Those two books have molded generations of photographers.

However, I prefer Elliott Erwitt, who, even though he is an acknowledged master, is still under-rated. I have most of his books, including the rare "Photographs and Anti-Photographs."

9:51 AM  
Blogger bjorke said...

This book is imo largely over-rated simply because it's so rare amd has not been reprinted -- most of the people who credit its influence have never even read it!

I had a copy for a while, on loan from a local collection. I scanned the 8 or 9 pages of text at the head to keep for reference, the photographs have all been printed in other collections and shown in other venues.

The large recent HCB biography is probably of more value to a photographer wanting to look at HCB for the sake of understanding and inspiration. And much easier to find.

For collectors, of course, that's a different story.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a copy of The Decisive Moment as well as a copy of The Europeans, but they are both so fragile looking that I'm afraid to open them. The paper seems to have a lot of acid in it from the looks of it, and the spine looks like it coming apart. It is a beautifully designed book, but it looks like it was never meant to be a permanent object. I don't think any other books in my collection have deteriorated like that.

9:29 PM  
Blogger cinema said...

By coincidence I just got back from the Bevely Hills library where I had gone to look at its reserve copy of The Decisive Moment. Sadly, it appears to have been purloined :(

12:10 AM  

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