Henri Cartier-Bresson The Decisive Moment

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Clément Chéroux

A new edition of one of the most important and genre-defining photobooks of the twentieth century.

The Decisive Moment (Images à la Sauvette in French) is one of the greatest photography books ever published. It brings together photographic material from the first twenty years of Henri Cartier-Bresson's career.

Images à la Sauvette was published in 1952 by Verve, with an original cover by Matisse. It was the result of a collaboration between the photographer, the famous art critic and publisher Tériade, and the painter, at the peak of his career. The American version, published the same year by Simon and Schuster, was the first to introduce the now-famous expression "decisive moment."

The book, which reveals the intrinsic duality of Henri Cartier-Bresson's work, the combination of intimate interpretation with documentary observation, received tremendous critical acclaim within the art world and is considered a "bible for photographers," in the words of photographer Robert Capa. It remains an essential reference for photographers to this day.

The original book, now out of print, has become a collector's item. The Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson sought to make this classic photography book accessible again, in a smaller and practical format, at an affordable price. The latest print features the same material as the original 1952 edition, and is accompanied by a comprehensive study of the book's making, its enduring popularity, and the considerations behind its title, written by Clément Chéroux, director of the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson.


Henri Cartier-Bresson


Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) brought a new aesthetic and practice to photography, initiated modern photojournalism, and cofounded Magnum Photos. In 2003, with his wife and daughter, he created Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris for the preservation of his work.

Clément Chéroux

Contributions By

Clément Chéroux is a French photography historian and curator. He was recently named director of the Fondation Henri Cartier- Bresson in Paris; he was previously chief curator of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.