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Monographs or surveys on the history of photography and notable photographers from the mid-19th Century to the present.

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Cartier-Bresson, Henri, The Decisive Moment, New York, Simon & Schuster, 1952, first American edition, folio (14" x 11"), HB in dj, white paper boards w/ black decorative titles & blue, green & black illus by Matisse in similar silk-screened dj, VG / G-. Traces of soiling, usual age-toning, minor archival repair to head of backstrip, bd corners exposed, edges worn. DJ somewhat tanned, edges worn & creased, missing pieces & left front flap (see photos).

Unpaginated, 126 photos, richly gravure-printed by Draeger Freres of France. Caption booklet is laid in (VG, lightly thumbed). A bright, tight copy of Henri Cartier-Bresson's seminal collection of photographs. The 14-page foreword is an essay concerning the photographer's thoughts and ideas on photography and his philosophy about the "decisive moment." Also included is a 3 page Technical Report to Photographers. The dust jacket is now in safely held archival mylar.

A lovely copy of a notoriously fragile book (a state common to French-bound volumes), uncommon in its dust jacket and rare in such nice condition. Included in "Andrew Roth's: The Book of 101 Books", this much-sought-after title was a landmark in the history of photographic book publishing. Subjects range from the famous portraits of Sartre, Faulkner, Matisse, Bonnard, Capote, to the documentation of the death of Gandhi, the coronation of King George VI, and HCB's glimpses of Indian maharajahs, French gypsies, Italian beggars, and Egyptian Muslims, just to name a few.

From Roth et al:

The idea of "the decisive moment" is one of the most enduring in photographic literature, and no one has articulated it better than its coiner, in his preface to this book: "To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression." Cartier-Bresson's "precise organization of forms" has come to be the standard against which that of all other photographers is measured, and this book is its "proper expression." Cartier-Bresson met the writer and publisher Teriade (pseudonym of Efstratios Eleftheriades) in about 1932. the following year, Teriade became the editor of the Surrealist journal Minotaure (which published a number of Cartier-Bresson's photographs), and in 1936 founded his own journal Verve. At this time Teriade had the idea of publishing a book or album of the photographs of Brassai, Bill Brandt, Eli Lotar, and Cartier-Bresson, but the war intervened. Finally, in 1952, he was able to publish Images a la sauvette under his imprint Editions Verve. The simultaneous publication of The Decisive Moment in New York in July 1952, with a cover by Matisse (who had just had his retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art) was a tremendous success, inspiring a young photographer named Robert Frank to put together a book of his own photographs called Black and White Things a few months later.    [Book ID # 1984]


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