Skip to main content

If you read this intro before…skip to the blue below.

I had this idea in my head. Maybe put three pictures up in my office, each representing something important about what I do. Counseling reminder. A touchstone for the eye of sorts. Well, like I said, it was in my head and as I realized one of the three pictures I wasn’t going to be able to get, and the others were certainly copyrighted, the three sort of evolved as I looked for alternatives. So in looking for a different way to go, in my head, we went from three reminders to 96 reminders. It’s why my wife refers to what comes out of my noggin as ‘cumbersome’ on occasion.

So. I am mostly a counselor, but I have also studied and practiced a bunch of other things including cuisine and photography. I always wanted to have an idea why some folks in every field are wildly successful compared to many of their contemporaries, so I always checked a bunch of them out. So, here come 96 people and quotes attributed to them, if there are any – 24 chefs, 24 photographers, 20 people associated with psychology directly, and then 28 none of the above people whose lives or words remind me what to strive towards as a counselor, a counseling business owner, and a general human being. The only problem was stopping. There have been a lot of people who for one reason or another inspire me, lots more names on the potential list but it had to at least pause somewhere, so here we are.

I don’t rightly know if writing these out and posting them will be of any use to anyone else but I’m reasonably sure codifying the whole thing will drive it home for me and hopefully offer some encouragement and centering for our folks. Hope you get something out of one or two of them too.

Artist/Photographer – Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson is probably better described as an artist who led an awful lot of serious life rather than simply a photographer. Of all things Cartier-Bresson is known for with his Leica camera though, the most notable seems to be the ability to find a scene, somehow anticipate what the rest of the world is going to do and once the composition and the subject are set…wait, and wait, and wait… then trigger the shutter at the moment of peak action. The decisive moment. I’ve even heard whispers that people believe several of his most famous shots were staged. Blah, blah, blah, maybe. Might could be jealousy or skill or luck, who cares? The shots are iconic. And no one else created them. So credit goes where it’s due. Here’s some ideas attributed to him.

“Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.”
Henri Cartier-Bresson

“To take photographs means to recognize — simultaneously and within a fraction of a second — both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning. It is putting one’s head, one’s eye and one’s heart on the same axis.”
Henri Cartier-Bresson

“To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It’s a way of life”
Henri Cartier-Bresson

“I’m not responsible for my photographs. Photography is not documentary, but intuition, a poetic experience. It’s drowning yourself, dissolving yourself, and then sniff, sniff, sniff – being sensitive to coincidence. You can’t go looking for it; you can’t want it, or you won’t get it. First you must lose your self. Then it happens.”
Henri Cartier-Bresson

“One has to tiptoe lightly and steal up to one’s quarry; you don’t swish the water when you are fishing. I believe that, through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us.”
Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Photography is nothing–it’s life that interests me.”
Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Sharpness is a bourgeois concept.”
Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”
Henri Cartier-Bresson

You’ll notice two nearly identical quotes back-to-back. I kept em both. Cause that particular concept really resonated with me. Especially when blended with Cartier-Bresson’s photographic art. As a counselor I really need to first understand and align how I see my own head and heart. Then, I need to invest the time and effort, and ongoing errors on my part to understand and align how the people who trust me see their own heads and hearts. Once the stage is set and the subject in frame, I need to recognize the decisive moment in which a snapshot becomes art and apply the technical skill to make use of that moment. To help those seeking to align their heads and hearts in ways that are more useful to them and the people who count on them. I can’t paint or sketch worth a tinker’s cuss. I’m growing as an artisan with a camera. I am continuing to strive to be but feel as though I have become an artist as a counselor. Never wanna lose that, especially since we counselors also deal in moments which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again. I want to be skilled and ready in that small space where something magic happens and lasts as evidence of that magic afterwards. See, some metaphors do exist between clicking and counseling.

 Learn more about the artist here:

Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation

Encyclopedia Britannica

Leave a Reply