I visited the Centre Pompidou last year on my trip in Paris. This exhibition was the highlight of all exhibitions I saw. Bresson’s work was displayed in a chronological order, starting from his early drawings, ending at his late painting work and showing all the fantastic photographs in between. What struck me most was how he was able to get an in dept notion and skill of all the styles and subjects he photographed, ranging from surrealistic drawings and photographs to political journalism, photo documentary work and back to painting and a more poetical style of imaginary.
Thinking about his life and looking at its harvest of art and historical memories, what I see is mostly a man who lived his life and his profession to the fullest. Wherever he was, he met up with people he could learn from, experienced with new ideas and let himself be enriched by other people, culture and landscapes. Not that he was swaying from one idea to the other. Instead, he found himself and strengthened his own vision and style. He took up his responsibility to stand by his principles and actively be involved in fighting for his ideas, using his talents and network.
I see a brave man, but always humble, curious and in awe of what he sees, how the world is taking shape in front of his lens and how time plays with forms and scenes. He takes seemingly uninteresting places and turns it into a fantastic composed play of light and shapes. He consciously turns away from the obvious and has a gift of highlighting the trivial elements.
Bresson’s photo journalistic and documentary work convey a strong political message or deeper meaning. He purposely uses his way of composing and timing to point out what he wants to tell. On the other hand does his way of composing bring a certain neutrality or distraction to the meaning, but maybe I noticed that because of seeing his earlier work shortly before.
All in all I found it very inspiring to see such an icon’s life long work and it pushed me to continue to develop my skills, view and motivation.