The Masters of Photoreportage

Hi all!

Glamour Photography and the Golden Age of Black and White Cinema was the subject we discussed last week with photographer Emile Issa. During yesterday’s photography segment, we talked about The Masters of Photreportage.

Last week we learned that the worldwide interest was provoked by Glamour Photography, but photographers wanted to travel around the world. Their spirit of adventure, their need to testify and show the citizens what was going in the world they live in was what lead them to travel. Also the need to be there along with the belief in change. But it’s the emergence of new technological updates and lightweight cameras with the Kodak Films that allowed photographers to work fast. Also, the emergence of a new recognized job called photojournalism that was providing the press and magazines with essential illustrations from the front and abroad. At that time there was no competition from television so viewers would rely mainly on the printed press.

There’s a multitude of talented photographers but the ones that are considered masters of photoreportage are Henri-Cartier Bresson, Robert Capa and Robert Doisneau.

Henri-Cartier Bresson believed that, “To photograph is to put on the same line of sight the head, the eye and the heart.” So we see the importance of composition despite, the speed of the events taking place. It’s his capacity to seize “the instant” while it’s happening. But we also feel a lot of “poetry” in his images.

Robert Capa is more about “being at the right moment at the right time. Whatever the place, whatever the time”. This is how he got his famous images and scoops, covering every major war at that time. But he also was famous for his “Bluff”, he claimed he is a famous American photographer in order to start getting commissions. His famous shot of the Spanish resistant toured the world along with the Landing on Normandy with the Allied forces. Unfortunately, he also died by stepping on a landmine in Indochina in May 1954. Below is his last picture a few minutes before his death.

Robert Doisneau is the every day Poet “par excellence” he toured Paris and France like no other and portrayed the French culture; from the “Halles” workers to the elite and artist circles. He didn’t cover any wars but rather focused on the aftermath of the second world war and it’s impact on the social classes. His work is poetry at it’s finest.

At that time agencies exploited the Photographers that weren’t owners of their rolls and negatives. So Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David Seymour got together and founded what is now the Prestigious MAGNUM Agency. Dedicated to the highest photographic standards and which allowed the photographers to remain owners of their rolls. A revolution at that time!

The competition between agencies was fierce at that time and many iconic pictures represent this era such as this one by Alfred Eisenstaedt in 1945 during the victory day in times square.

Although photoreportages were famous to cover violent conflicts, this doesn’t mean that the photoreporters indulged in war, they were mainly about condemnation.


Helwi El Hayet

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About helwielhayet

Helwi el-Hayet discusses your favorite topics every week day at 4:30 p.m. Beirut time. From fashion to psychology to books to art to nutrition to cooking and coaching (and much, much more), Helwi el-Hayet is here to shed light on the latest trends and to share with you reports, interviews and recipes from Lebanon and the region!
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1 Response to The Masters of Photoreportage

  1. Very great shots! =)

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