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Henri Cartier-Bresson "Behind the Gare St. Lazare" 1932
[Celebrating The Negative]
1932 (original image) 2008 (publication)
Gelatin silver print
Hands: George Fèvre, 5.11.87
Actually, I asked Henri Cartier-Bresson to let me photograph another negative showing two prostitutes in Mexico City. They lean through openings in their crib doors. The print is often published.
"Oh, no! No! No! Think of their feelings! They might be grandmothers now. No, no! You can't publish that," he replied with intensity that surprised me. Instead, he let me photograph the negative to his most famous photograph. It shows a man leaping into a puddle in Paris. George Fèvre, who prints many of Cartier-Bresson's pictures, put it out on the light table.
In The Decisive Moment Cartier-Bresson described taking it, "There was a plank fence around some repairs behind Gare St. Lazare. I was peeking through the spaces with my camera at my eye. This is what I saw. The space between the planks was not entirely wide enough for my lens, which is the reason the picture is cut off on the left."
For safekeeping, the negative was cut from a strip of 35mm film at the start of World War II. Sprocket holes are missing on one side. Possibly the film was manufactured without them or possibly someone has cut them off. Asked about this, Cartier-Bresson replies, "I swallowed them."
This photograph is included in the portfolio Celebrating the Negative photographs by published by John Loengard, Etherton Gallery (2008), pl. 9
All photographs copyright ® John Loengard. Gelatin silver prints printed by Chuck Kelton, Kelton Labs, New York City, under the direct supervision of John Loengard. Printed on Ilford Multigrade Warm Glossy paper. Design and portfolio box construction by Jace Graf, Cloverleaf Studio, Austin, Texas.
Celebrating The Negative/Photographs by John Loengard was published by Etherton Gallery, Tucson, Arizona, in March, 2008, in an edition of eighteen portfolios, including fifteen numbered copies and three artist's proofs.