Andalusia, Spain

Henri Cartier-Bresson French

Not on view

Henri Cartier-Bresson's close association with Surrealist circles in 1920s Paris resulted in a devotion to chance and spontaneity that ultimately manifested itself in his adoption of 35mm street photography as his primary expressive medium in the early 1930s. In this photograph of two gypsies in southern Spain the subjects' mischievous engagement with the camera admits the presence of the photographer without disarming his astute aesthetic sensibility or erasing the subtle social implications of the situation. Although the picture seems effortless, it is Cartier-Bresson's finely tuned photographic intuition that has transformed a fortuitous encounter with a couple of marginal characters into a "decisive moment" that flouts bourgeois notions of proper subject matter in a manner worthy of his Surrealist heritage.

Andalusia, Spain, Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, Chanteloup-en-Brie 1908–2004 Montjustin), Gelatin silver print

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