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The process diary of film director Glendyn Ivin


Glendyn Ivin

Watched a wonderful documentary about legendary french photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, and some other artists. I've transcribed part of one of the interviewers below because it's so beautifully relevant and to the point and it won't stop echoing around my head... While flicking through a book of his photographs, HCB pauses at what would arguably be one of his most famous photographs 'Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare' (1932). An image which describes perfectly his idea of 'the decisive moment'.

Henri Cartier-Bresson: I shot this one through... in between planks. I slipped the camera through but I couldn't see. That's why it's a bit blurry. The planks were like this, so only the lens went though. I couldn't see a thing through the viewer.

Interviewer: You couldn't see the man jumping?

HCB: No.

Interviewer: That was lucky.

HCB: It's always luck. It's luck that matters.You have to be receptive that's all. Like the relationship between things, It's a matter of chance.

If you want it, you get nothing. Just be receptive and it happens.

... Here it's geometry, the way it's framed. One shouldn't think about it but the basis is geometry. The divine proportion.

Intuitively, I know how it sits. But thats all I can say.

It's the physical rhythm, 1.618... 3.1416... The Golden Number. We know how it sits. A compass will tell you, but it's in the eye.

I go for form more than for light. Form comes first.

Light is like a perfume to me.

It's such a wonderful note on listening, watching and responding intuitively. Not being technical or academic or overly formulaic in an approach. But being present and open to what is actually happening in front of us at the time. Having your eyes wide open and aware of the things around you.

HCB was 92 in this docco. He died in 2004. The whole film is fascinating, but you can skip to 16 minutes 09 seconds for the gold!