Derek Pye

In conversation with top wedding photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson

on Friday, 24 February 2012. Posted in On Photography

on my mindA while ago Henri Cartier-Bresson had the great pleasure of meeting one of his heroes. Me. In this never before seen interview I spoke to Henri about his life and work and my influence on him. 

 I travelled to meet Cartier-Bresson in Paris, taking with me a box of pickled onion Monster Munch as a gift. Legend has it that he loves them but they are impossible to find in France. We meet in a cafe in the Montparnasse area. He greets me like an old friend. It's all hugs and backslapping and little punches and neck locks. We wrestle on the floor for half an hour like Oliver Reed and Alan Bates in Women in Love. Eventually, after I land a nasty rabbit punch, a waiter comes over and separates us.

 I order a large bottle of Absinthe and we settle down, two giants of the medium, and begin our conversation.

DP: Henry, how many weddings do you shoot a year?

HCB: None.

DP:  What is the best wedding photo you've ever shot?

HCB: Never shot any.

DP: Has the trend for wedding photojournalism improved business?

HCB: Wedding photographers aren't photojournalists. They're just photographers who take pictures at weddings but with no one looking at the camera. It's good that they've managed to turn their hobby into a bit of paid work though.

DP: Got any funny stories from weddings you've shot?

HCB: I hate weddings and wedding photography.

DP: What do you think about all the wedding photographers name checking you on their tedious websites?

HCB: They're all pricks.

DP: I've brought you a box of Monster Munch.

 HCB: Cheers mate. Are they pickled onion? Impossible to get over here.

And with that he's gone. I finish my glass of booze and reach for the bottle to get a refill. I chuckle to myself when I realise Cartier-Bresson has lifted it. Barstard! The decisive moment, indeed. What a pro!

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Comments (24)

  • Duncan

    Duncan

    05 February 2013 at 19:12 |
    You legend. Did you ask Henri when his action set is coming out ?

    reply

  • Mark

    Mark

    05 February 2013 at 19:13 |
    I presume you asked, but just left it out of the article...Is he Nikon or Canon?

    reply

  • Mister Groping

    Mister Groping

    05 February 2013 at 19:13 |
    I love Henri's Schindler shots. Did he get that from you?

    reply

  • Robert Cleun

    Robert Cleun

    05 February 2013 at 19:14 |
    I know that Henri Cartier-Bresson passed away in 2004 and I do not believe this interview to be genuine and think that you may have made up this encounter!

    reply

  • Gwegamya Thurpleiszk

    Gwegamya Thurpleiszk

    05 February 2013 at 19:14 |
    Awesome article Derek. You must have been so stoked to interview HCB. Even 80sDiscoBride hasn't been allowed to feature any of his work yet. I feel so blessed that you are in my industry.

    reply

  • christine

    christine

    05 February 2013 at 19:14 |
    Awesome...

    reply

  • Anonymous Steve

    Anonymous Steve

    05 February 2013 at 19:15 |
    Good to see you're still an idiot Derk

    reply

  • Doug

    Doug

    05 February 2013 at 19:15 |
    I am so pleased you exist Derek.

    reply

  • Canon Lover

    Canon Lover

    05 February 2013 at 19:16 |
    I'm with you all the way My Pye but your photos are rubbish

    reply

  • Thomas

    Thomas

    05 February 2013 at 19:16 |
    HCB is totally wrong, you can get Monster Munch is France.

    reply

    • Derek

      Derek

      05 February 2013 at 19:16 |
      yes but the flavouring is slightly different as they are made in a factory outside Lyon. Henri is a connoisseur and prefers the UK flavours made on the Walkers production line in Leicester. But thanks for your comment.

      reply

  • Lee

    Lee

    05 February 2013 at 19:17 |
    Hi Derek - You've still not got back to me about the interview for Find a Wedding Photographer www.findaweddingphotographer.co.uk

    reply

  • Clare

    Clare

    05 February 2013 at 19:18 |
    what is this?

    reply

  • Derren Brown

    Derren Brown

    05 February 2013 at 19:18 |
    Derek is the ultimate rock star wedding photographer

    reply

  • Durango CO Photographer

    Durango CO Photographer

    05 February 2013 at 19:18 |
    This interview must have been quite a while ago, since HCB passed away many years ago, or did you have too much of the absinthe and dream up the whole thing? Anyway, I hope that wedding photograph at the top is a joke - like the bride is getting into the grooms head.

    reply

    • Derek

      Derek

      05 February 2013 at 19:19 |
      Dear Derrrango - please read out loud the first three words of the interview for clarification.

      All the best

      Derek

      reply

    • Anony

      Anony

      14 June 2013 at 02:28 |
      Durango CO Photographer don't be so rude to Derek, he's remembered more about wedding photography than you've forgotten!.

      reply

  • Anony Nony No

    Anony Nony No

    14 June 2013 at 02:23 |
    Very informative Derek, as usual you have brought out the gems of Henri Cartier-Bresson's life experiences, I feel I really know this guy now and how he ticks over!.

    reply

  • dilip

    dilip

    30 August 2013 at 17:41 |
    Oh... it's been a good while since I've literally rolled around laughing.

    reply

  • Monsieur Nom Nom Nom

    Monsieur Nom Nom Nom

    30 August 2013 at 19:32 |
    Did he mention me at all? He once had me jumping across a puddle 30 or 40 times till he got it right.

    reply

  • wedding photographer

    wedding photographer

    15 October 2013 at 03:22 |
    Can I just say what a comfort to discover someone that truly knows what they're discussing
    over the internet. You certainly realize how
    to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people should check
    this out and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you
    are not more popular given that you surely have the gift.

    reply

  • Lorenzo Photography

    Lorenzo Photography

    20 January 2014 at 12:27 |
    I sincerely hope William Eggleston is the next exclusive interview to be revealed.

    reply

  • Richard P Walton

    Richard P Walton

    17 June 2015 at 02:04 |
    I would have had him down as a beef flavoured kind of guy. Thanks for the insight Derek

    reply

  • Mongo Nutsachs

    Mongo Nutsachs

    07 July 2016 at 23:16 |
    Hi Des (is it OK for me to call you Des?),

    Did you find time to ask Lenny Henry his thoughts on the controversial resizing of the Monster Much that took place during the mid to late 2000s? Initially I was devastated, but I learned to deal with it after a while. I'm just wondering how he dealt with it, if at all.

    Also, please could you provide a quote for documenting my upcoming vasectomy, in a documentary style.

    Thanks a lot.

    Mongo

    reply

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