Monday, June 12, 2006

The prodigal returns

Firing all booster rockets, I have made a successful re-entry to the blogosphere. While still in orbit, I made a trip to Sedona, Arizona, supposedly for this, but actually for this. I have come to the following conclusion: Arizona is hot, dusty, and littered with large red rocks and small scrubby trees. Trees so small, in fact, that it's easy to believe you're looking at them from much higher than you actually are. These pictures illustrate the aforementioned.

I also ate rattlesnake. Strips. Deep-fried. Tasted like a small, chewy version of kurkure. Something more substantial was expected. Anti-climax.

On to better things. In 1952, Henri Cartier-Bresson published a small book called "Images a la Sauvette" ("Images on the Run"), aka "The Decisive Moment". It had the following to commend it: a cover by Matisse (below), a short introduction that is still the last word on the philosophy of the camera, and 126 black-and-white photographs. For some unknown reason, the book is out of print and copies (usually in tattered condition because of the substandard binding) are hard and shockingly expensive to come by.

Cover of "The Decisive Moment" by Henri Matisse

For the sake of us mortals who do not have potloads of shekels to dish out on a wad of paper, a great soul has scanned the entire book and uploaded it on the web. I have no idea how long this will remain online, and my sincere advice to you is to read it asap. If there is one book of photos you should ever look at in your life, this is definitely it. As a human document, it has never been bettered.

Il n'y a rien en ce monde qui n'ait un moment décisif
-- Cardinal de Retz, quoted by Henri Cartier-Bresson