Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris 1980
Henri Cartier-Bresson trapped by the Paparazzi.
by Bruno Mouron
In 1980, as a young photographer at Paris Match, I was called in with my sidekick, Bernard Wis, to see our boss, Roger Thérond. Thinking we were in trouble, we walked sheepishly into his office. But we weren’t in trouble. He assigned us a mission which obviously meant a lot to him. Delighted to have his trust, we accepted without further discussion.
The mission involved following and photographing Henri Cartier-Bresson. We were to shoot the photos, obviously, without being seen. We had been given carte blanche.
Then one day, Cartier-Bresson abandoned his Leica for a drawing pad. Still on his heels, we followed him along the banks of the Seine opposite the Louvre, where he sat quietly on a bench, sketching passers-by and tourists.
Then the idea came to me: I took my shirt off and lay down about ten feet in front of him like a sunbather. I was the perfect tourist, but I had my camera hidden in my scarf. I sat there waiting for the right moment to shoot, when all of a sudden I saw an enormous St. Bernard approaching along the quai.
Cartier-Bresson was focused on his sketches and didn’t see the dog, which, being in the foreground, gave this photograph a peculiar quality.