The Decisive Moment.
“Of all the means of expression, photography is the only one that fixes a precise moment in time": First Edition of Henri Cartier-Bresson's The Decisive Moment; Inscribed by Him
The Decisive Moment.
Item Number: 117546
New York: Simon and Schuster, 1952.
First edition of Cartier-Bresson’s classic work, with 126 photographs by “the Raphael of 20th-century photographers.” Folio, original illustrated boards. Association copy, inscribed by Cartier-Bresson on the title page, “à Joan et Eliot, ‘The Decisive Moment’ de l’amitié, Henri, 19 Jan 57, la vraie patrie c’est l’amitié.” The recipient was Eliot Elisofon, a fellow photographer and a founding member of the Photo League in 1936. He was one of the most active and productive members: he gave guest lectures (1938–43); co-organized the Men at Work project with Lewis Hine (1940); served periodically as president between 1939 and 1941; taught courses on photojournalism and flash photography (1940–41); and participated in numerous exhibitions. Elisofon taught at many institutions, including the Institute of American Artists School (1936-1941), the New School (1938), the Clarence H. White School of Photography (November 1940 – April 1941), the Photo League (1941), the New School for Social Research (1942), the Museum of Modern Art, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as Yale University, Syracuse University, Radcliffe College, Wellesley College, and Sarah Lawrence College. Elisofon’s first assignments for Life magazine appeared in 1937, Tin Type Photographer and Jewish New Year, and in 1941 his image of General Patton was the first color cover of Life. Patton was intrigued by Elisofon’s desire to get as close to the action as possible and nicknamed him “Hellsapopin.” He was the only photographer to accompany Gen. Patton throughout the North African Campaign. His photographs became an exhibition titled The Tunisian Triumph, which opened in June 1943 at MoMA and traveled to 20 cities in the United States. From 1942 to 1964 he was a staff photographer for Life magazine. With the captions booklet laid in. Near fine in a near fine dust jacket. Jacket design by Matisse. An exceptional association, rare and desirable signed.
"Cartier-Bresson has a special interest in photographing people and in capturing the essence of what has not previously been seen. He is famous for his theory of the 'decisive moment'-that is seizing the split second when the subject stands revealed in its most significant aspect? Today he ranks as one of the most important and influential photographers of this century" (Blodgett, 96)—"the Raphael of 20th-century photographers" (Icons of Photography, 58). Decisive Moment is Cartier-Bresson's most famous work, containing his most comprehensive and important statement on the meaning, technique, and utility of photography. "The simultaneous publication [of this edition with Images à la Sauvette] 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" (Roth, 134). With extremely scarce dust jacket; separate caption pamphlet (rarely found) laid in. Parr & Badger I:208. Open Book, 154-5.