A 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?
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!