Valence (Valencia)

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Chanteloup-les-Vignes, France, 1908 - Montjustin, France, 2004
  • Date: 
    1933 / Later print
  • Technique: 
    Gelatin silver print on paper
  • Dimensions: 
    Image: 24 x 36 cm / Support: 30 x 40,5 cm
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In autumn 1933 the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson travelled around Spain. He visited Barcelona, Seville, Valencia, Alicante and Madrid, where he held an exhibition at the Ateneo in late November – discussed by Guillermo de Torre in an article on “The new photography” – in which Cartier-Bresson marked a paradigm shift, turning from experimental to documentary photography. Guillermo de Torre praised “the unaffected beauty of his photographs” with their “vaguely superrealist intention” when the “ghost of the unreal manifests itself on the public street.” One example is this mysterious photograph of Valencia.
At that time Cartier-Bresson perfected his method, the “decisive moment”, patiently pursuing the subject until form and content come together. “Photography must seize that moment, and freeze the balance of the whole.” It comes down to a synthesis of view, intuition and reason. “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a split second, of both the meaning of an event and of the precise formal order that creates the perfect expression of the event.”

Horacio Fernández