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Italy, 1933

ALLAN JENKINS talks about
Henri Cartier-Bresson:

What inspires me most about Henri Cartier-Bresson's photography is his instinctive way
of working, where not only sight and mind take part, but the mechanical tools become
so familiar, that they almost cease to be noticeable, and give way to truer and more instinctive interpretations. I also find fascinating the way he has fused reportage with an artistic eye, carefully composing and waiting for the “decisive moment”. Combining the scientific approach with a more heartfelt and finely tuned emotional involvement, to not only record what he sees, but simultaneously project a part of himself on to his chosen subject.

I have been influenced by Henri Cartier-Bresson in a number of areas. Firstly by working in a purist manner, using mostly natural light and real people as subjects, as opposed to models or professional sitters. Second I also only compose the image in the view finder and not later, in the darkroom. The image you intend to capture shouldn’t be massively manipulated, if it were it would no longer have the truth of the moment you captured and intended to preserve. Since I work on large format cameras, and contact print my images ,the whole negative needs to be used, so no cropping takes place to achieve a final print.

I'm also influenced by Cartier-Bresson’s quiet yet prolific way of working, as I believe that photography can become a constant journey of discovery through the boundaries of perception. Constantly searching for true moments and simplifying ways to capture a part of life... Cartier-Bresson relates the camera to a sketchbook, creating a constant series of studies that capture the tiny details and moments filled with ideas and emotions. Intending for all of these sketches to slowly build towards the bigger picture; telling us little stories along the way. Through the discipline and practice of the search, one develops one's own personal style, which constantly changes as we find our own particular formulas.

This nude shot in Italy reminds me of how a concealed identity can transform the message and overall feeling of a picture. Concentrating more on the individual shapes, emphasizing form and detail, but not allowing us to engage in the person’s identity. Anonymity can create mystique, can also create a stronger composition, as we no longer concentrate on the person’s expression, but the shape that their body makes. Alternatively it also makes you wonder what their expressions would be like, as you want to see more!! That is the attraction of holding back information, not only based on the theory "less is more", but also making your imagination work, as you wonder more. I also like the lack of distractions or signs of modernity, therefore delivering a completely natural identity.

Allan Jenkins , London, July 2003


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© 2003 Hackelbury Fine Art, Ltd. Copyright for all images is held by the respective artist or estate and they may not be reproduced in any form without express premission. All rights reserved.