Henri Cartier-Bresson with Canon

by Kryn Taconis, Paris 1953

Henri Cartier-Bresson with Canon by Kryn Taconis, Paris 1953

This photograph was taken way back in 1953 in Paris, France by Kryn Taconis. It shows Henri Cartier-Bresson in profile, looking through the viewfinder of a Canon copy of pre-WWII Leica. In 1959 Kryn moved to Toronto, Canada, where he worked as a freelance photographer and became one of Canada’s leading photojournalists during the 1960s and 1970s, before photojournalism died in his original form.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, the founding member of Magnum cooperative photo agency, he is considered as one of the key figures of 20th century photography. His concept of the “decisive moment”, published in 1952, built modern history of urban photography and turned Leica into the camera of the modern and mobile photographer. Kryn Taconis, who worked for Magnum from 1950 to 1960 and was one of Cartier-Bresson’s close collaborators, also used the Leica rangefinder camera. It enabled its users to work spontaneously, quickly and independently, making it particularly attractive to photojournalists.

1953, at the time the present portrait was taken, the native Dutchman Taconis was concentrating mainly on his work as a photojournalist, taking photographs in Europe and the Middle East, travelling through Africa and Australia; his photography was published in popular magazines, like Life and Paris Match.

Photo credit: © WestLicht Photographica Auction