Debunking the myth

The jumping man.

Oceans of ink have been spent by would be experts explaining how Henri Cartier-Bresson’s divine sense of timing allowed him to make that picture of the man jumping the puddle behind Gare St. Lazare in 1932.

Click the image for the video and jump to 16:23 where you will learn not only that there was no timing involved, HC-B couldn’t even see the subject when he pressed the button! As the great man goes on to say, “all photography is an accident” (especially that of Ansel Adams, come to think of it, though the world would have been better off had those accidents never happened).


HC-B – ‘J’ai rien vu’. Click the image for the video.

What is so especially charming about this disclosure that it is said without artifice or pretense. Decisive Moment, my hind quarters. But the image remains one of the greatest ever made.

2 thoughts on “Debunking the myth

  1. Yes, and that image actually had to be cropped in too. It’s not a full frame image, like most of his work.

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