The Decisive Moment by Henri Cartier-Bresson

If there’s one book that nearly every photographer, particularly street photographers, speak of in hushed tones of wonder, it’s The Decisive Moment by Henri-Cartier Bresson. 

If you want to join them, be warned, even recent reprints of this work command hefty prices and the original can set you back tens of thousands of dollars, but is it worth it?


Do We Love The Decisive Moment? 

We’re going to commit heresy now. We think that there are two groups of people out there. 

The first, those into the history of photography, will very much love Cartier-Bresson’s The Decisive Moment, it has its place as one of the most illustrious works in the annals of photography and thus, it’s worth studying.

The Decisive Moment

The second, however, those into taking photographs rather than history? They may find their money to be better spent on more recent photographer’s works, instead. 

There’s no doubt in our minds that The Decisive Moment is a product of its time and it hasn’t aged as well as nostalgia would have you believe. 

If you can borrow a copy, that would be worth it, mind you because then you’d know what you were missing out on. 


Final Thoughts On The Decisive Moment 

We’re not downplaying the importance of Cartier-Bresson in the development of street photography, he was ahead of his time and if you love history or have tons of money to burn, this is a great book.

But he was not so far ahead of his time that you can’t find better street photography books for much less money.

So, why not take a look at Subway by Bruce Davidson, Vivian Maier: Street Photographer and Bystander: A History of Street Photography if you want to get better value for money? 

You can grab a copy online here.

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