Henri Cartier Bresson’s work doesn’t need introduction. Some time ago my friend Ankit gifted me a copy of his book “Mexican Notebooks”. Personally I think Bresson’s work shines the most in portraiture combined with the crispness of street photography style. But this book is not just that, its more. Bresson introduces his travels to Mexico two trips, almost in a documentary fashion.
In my hands the book feels heavy. Its hardbound and quite heavy even though its not very thick, only 81 pages. Printed by Thames & Hudson, its printed and bound in Spain. And I have to say, the quality of the first sheet in the book (which ha cotton texture and beautifully in the same tone as the images) makes sure you know where you’re going.
I don’t think this is a ground breaking book, it lacks that certain surreal charm which Bresson seems to master in. But there is something which is very special about this book which doesn’t reveal itself unless you have followed this photographers work. This collection brings together photographs from 1934, just as he was embarking on his photographic career and the second some thirty years later in 1964.
Its interesting to see how the photographers style changes over 30 years. I feel that initially Bresson has a more instinctive style whereas later on he refines his style more towards his iconic “decisive moment”.
So would I recommend this book? I would say that if you’re looking for spectacular work which HCB is known for then I’d say you’d be disappointed. This book is not for people who are looking for images which hit you instantly, but its a book which would give you an insight into how his style was distilled over thirty years.