a blog by knut skjærven

The Lightness Of Life (1)

At The Beach (1). © Knut Skjærven.

At The Beach (1) Shot in Normandy, France in 2006.  What goes through Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work is a certain lightness of life. It has to do with the subjects he picks, the way he handles them, and also with the print expression that he seems to insists on. Decisive moments and precise compositions, sure, but the lightness of life is the thread that carries it all.

First of all, Eric, thank you for asking me for this interview.  I am flattered that you suggest that there is a certain inspiration, and maybe even a likeness, in some of my pictures to those of Henri Cartier-Bresson. You said: “I love how your images convey a similar aesthetic to Henri Cartier-Bresson”.

That is a great, great compliment. I am not sure that I deserve it. I know I don’t. After all, it is not that long ago that I started taking photography seriously.

Sure, I have been taking pictures for many years, but it never occurred to me that I perhaps should spend more time with it. It was not till 2010 that I decided to start a proper photographic project. That project is still running. That brought about a change.

I call this change a move from picturetaking to photography. For me there is a huge difference. Not only related to the dedication involved, but also in the ways of doing things.

I have a clue as to what you mean by “a similar aesthetic”. The similarity is in part intentional. I was not sure that anyone would detect it. You did.

The first part of the similarity is based on the mere inspiration of certain of HCB’s themes and his ways of handling them. I do this as a silent honour to HCB. I have great pleasure in doing it. I also learn a lot.

The other similarity is more fundamental. It has, however, not much to do with HCB. It does not spring from him or his photographs. In a sense we share some of the same inspirations. He was there for real, I was there as a distant student and many years later. We refer to some of the same people. People like Luis Bunuel, like André Breton, like Jean Renoir. I know these guys. Not personally, but enough to know that we live in the same street. I also know Jean-Paul SartreAlbert Camus and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, who all operated in Paris at the same time as HCB. They were important for what happened on the cultural scene in France, or for that matter, in Europe, at the time.

There are even additional sources of inspiration, as you will see later.


What About Henri Cartier – Bresson? The Lightness Of Life.

(Links to all sections).

Prelude; The Lightness Of Life (1);  The Lightness of Life (2 & 3); The Lightness of Life (4); The Lightness of Life (5); The Lightness of Life (6); The Lightness of Life (7); The Lightness of Life (8); The Lightness of Life (9); The Lightness of Life (10); The Lightness of Life (11).


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