On the metaphor and practice of photography: Socialist realism, the popular front in France and the dynamics of cultural unity

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On 30 April 1936 the Communist-supported photo-journal Regards published a sequence of photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson (figure 1). These photographs are quite unlike the immaculately composed works for which Cartier-Bresson would later become famous; instead the images are seemingly quite casual. They are not made by seizing ‘decisive moments’. Indeed, for Cartier-Bresson the capturing of the ‘decisive moment’ would be -a question of working ‘in terms of reality, not of fiction’, whilst the photographs in Regards werederived from a fictional precedent: they were an accompaniment to a short feature on a novel by Tristan Rémy, Faubourg Saint-Antoine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-60
Number of pages9
JournalHistory of Photography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2001

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