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Submitted on
June 26, 2012
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The Mind's Eye - Book review

Tue Jun 26, 2012, 3:21 AM
If you like what you read, please :+favlove: this article so it reaches more deviants

Street Book Reviews - Part I

A new series of articles begins, we hope you will enjoy them as much as the previous ones. This time myraincheck reviews Street Photography books and puts down on paper her favorite quotes. And yours truly picks up the images from your galleries to illustrate them.

So, we first present you:

The Mind's eye

by Henri Cartier Bresson
Original title: L'imaginaire d'après nature


The book, around 100 pages, is divided in two parts. The first one contains a precious series of thoughts on street photography, the famous description of the decisive moment and an analysis of the elements of photography: the decisive moment, the picture story, the subject, composition,  technique, the customers, color, the imaginary from the truth.
In the second half of the book instead there are (much less interesting - street photography wise)
essays about travels to Moscow, Cuba and China, and memories and commentary about photographer and artist friends the author had known.

I suppose the author doesn't need a presentation, though if you are completely new to street photography take a look here:…

Quotes from the book

"Photography is, for me, a spontaneous impulse coming from an ever attentive eye which captures the moment and its eternity."

muslera by bukalemin  :bigthumb308500698:

"Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation".


"My passion has never been for photography "in itself," but for the possibility— through forgetting yourself— of recording in a fraction of a second the emotion of the subject, and the beauty of the form; that is, a geometry awakened by what's offered.
The photographic shot is one of my sketchpads."

0424 by NunoCanhaone_three_one by OskarAlfons

"What actually is a photographic reportage, a picture story? Sometimes there is one unique picture whose composition possesses such vigor and richness, and whose content so radiates outward from it, that this single picture is a whole story in itself. But this rarely happens. The elements which, together, can strike sparks from a subject, are often scattered—either in terms of space or time—and bringing them together by force is "stage management," and, I feel, contrived. "

Street Photography color 098 by sagi-knt by okatopho

"The picture-story involves a joint operation of the brain, the eye, and the heart. The objective of this joint operation is to depict the content of some event which is in the process of unfolding, and to communicate impressions. Sometimes a single event can be so rich in itself and its facets that it is necessary to move all around it in your search for the solution to the problems it poses—for the world is movement, and you cannot be stationary in your attitude toward something that is moving. Sometimes you light upon the picture in seconds; it might also require hours or days. But there is no standard plan, no pattern from which to work. You must be on the alert with the brain, the eyes, the heart, and have a suppleness of body.
Things-As-They-Are offer such an abundance of material that a photographer must guard against the temptation of trying to do everything. It is essential to cut from the raw material of life—to cut and cut, but to cut with discrimination. While working, a photographer must reach a precise awareness of what he is trying to do. Sometimes you have the feeling that you have already taken the strongest possible picture of a particular situation or scene; nevertheless, you find yourself compulsively shooting, because you cannot be sure in advance exactly how the situation, the scene, is going to unfold. You must stay with the scene, just in case the elements of the situation shoot off from the core again. At the same time, it's essential to avoid shooting like a machine-gunner and burdening yourself with useless recordings which clutter your memory and spoil the exactness of the reportage as a whole."


"Of all the means of expression, photography is the only one that fixes forever the precise and transitory instant. We photographers deal in things that are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth that can make them come back again".

The Gentleman And The Street Sweeper by boyrdtangled by fuxs

"In photography, the smallest thing can become a big subject, an insignificant human detail can become a leitmotiv. We see and we make seen as a witness to the world around us; the event, in its natural activity, generates an organic rhythm of forms".

street 4654364574577 by ohyouhandsomeDevilVictory Day (9 May) - 11 by artemmeluzov

"If a photograph is to communicate its subject in all its intensity, the relationship of form must be rigorously established. Photography implies the recognition of a rhythm in the world of real things.
What the eye does is to find and focus on the particular subject within the mass of reality; what the camera does is simply to register upon film the decision made by the eye. We look at and perceive a photograph, as we do a painting, in its entirety and all in one glance. In a photograph, composition is the result of a simultaneous coalition, the organic coordination of elements seen by the eye. One does not add composition as though it were an afterthought superimposed on the basic subject material, since it is impossible to separate content from form. Composition must have its own inevitability about it."

134 by felixlu

"This recognition, in real life, of a rhythm of surfaces, lines, and values is for me the essence of photography; composition should be a constant of preoccupation, being a simultaneous coalition – an organic coordination of visual elements."

morning ride by vefteniestreet_54 by pivan

"Composition must be one of our constant preoccupations, but at the moment of shooting it can stem only from our intuition, for we are out to capture the fugitive moment, and all the interrelationships involved are on the move. "
"If you start cutting or cropping a good photograph, it means death to the geometrically correct interplay of proportions. Besides, it very rarely happens that a photograph which was feebly composed can be saved by reconstruction of its composition under the darkroom's enlarger; the integrity of vision is no longer there. There is a lot of talk about camera angles; but the only valid angles in existence are the angles of the geometry of composition and not the ones fabricated by the photographer who falls flat on his stomach and performs other antics to produce his effects."

:bigthumb297544359:Framed by myraincheck

"It is enough if a photographer feels at ease with his camera, and if it is appropriate to the job he wants it to do. The actual handling of the camera, its stops, its exposure-speeds and all the rest of it are things which should be as automatic as the changing of gears in an automobile."

The arrival by Rastislav

"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 organisation of forms which give that event its proper expression. I believe that through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us which can mould us, but which can also be affected by us. A balance must be established between these two worlds- the one inside us and the one outside us. As the result of a constant reciprocal process, both these worlds come to form a single one. And it is this world that we must communicate. But this takes care only of the content of the picture. For me, content cannot be separated from form. By form, I mean the rigorous organisation of the interplay of surfaces, lines and values. It is in this organisation alone that our conceptions and emotions become concrete and communicable. In photography, visual organisation can stem only from a developed instinct."

nun by iapostolovski1-ball Pool by StamatisGR

"To photograph is to hold one's breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It's at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy."
"To take photographs means to recognize - simultaneously and within a fraction of a second - both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning. It is putting one's head, one's eye and one's heart on the same axis."

Queen St Angel by DougNZ:bigthumb254294266:

"As far as I am concerned, taking photographs is a means of understanding which cannot be separated from other means of visual expression. It is a way of shouting, of freeing oneself, not of proving or asserting one's own originality. It is a way of life".

Street Photography BW 201 by sagi-k

"For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity."

up by SimonSawSunlight

Add a Comment:
JamminJo Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Added to #DevNews posting on July 2, 2012 :)
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012   Photographer
:glomp: Congrats on your ' :D
JamminJo Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you :glomp:
pavboq Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012
Oh, my favourite book! I really recommend it too. It's an integral part of my 'street equipment':)
PS Thank you! The honour:)
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012   Photographer
You're welcome :)
Nirka Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012
Thank you for this great work!
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012   Photographer
SLpImpressions Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012
great read. I so relate to the intuitive approach he has.
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012   Photographer
hersley Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012
Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing this.
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