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Henri Cartier-Bresson on Learning to Look


Here’s a clip from an old interview in which legendary photographer and street photography pioneer Henri Cartier-Bresson was asked about the art of seeing. His answer probably isn’t what you’d expect.

“Can one learn to look?” the interviewer asks Cartier-Bresson. This was the photographer’s response:

Can one learn to have sex? Oops… cut! […]

To learn to look… is to go to the Louvre Museum and to look at Rubens’ paintings. It may also teach you about sex. Or make you feel like having sex.

That’s all that matters. Love. Not only love-making, but just plain love.

Love for life.

Cartier-Bresson clearly draws inspiration from the richness of his own life experiences, as he’s visibly moved by his thoughts of love while answering the question.

This clip was from the 2001 documentary film Henri Cartier-Bresson: L’amour tout court. You can watch the full film for free here.

(via Simone Sbaraglia via Reddit)

P.S. If you’d like to heed Cartier-Bresson’s advice from the comfort of your own home, you can view a selection of Peter Paul Rubens’ paintings here.