Upside-down Henri

Henri Cartier-Bresson had a famous habit of turning photographs upside-down and sideways to test the strength of their composition. If a picture still worked upside-down, there must be some validity to its design. If an upside-down picture doesn’t work, then it must be relying too much on its subject-matter. It would just be a record of something and not a made work of art.

“He always turned them all around and upside-down. It became like a sort of dance. Strangely, he didn’t want to look at the picture.” – René Burri

Let’s put his own images to the test and see if they pass.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Behind the Gare St Lazare, Paris, 1932

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Hyéres, France, 1932

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Children Playing in the Ruins, Seville, 1933

Henri Cartier-Bresson,

They did pass, didn’t they?


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