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The English

Sale price£45.00

RRB Photobooks & Delpire&co, November 2022
Hardcover with Dustjacket
21 x 18.5 cm
216 pages
French/English Bilingual, double sided book
50 black and white photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson
50 colour photographs by Martin Parr
Text by François Hébel
signed by Martin Parr
ISBN: 9781739702311


This book accompanies the exhibition “Reconciliation” presented at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson 8 November 2022 — 12 February 2023. This book is available for purchase within France from Delpire & Co.

In 1962, Henri-Cartier Bresson accepted a commission from British television ITV/ABC to make a documentary on the north of England. Broadcast only once and unearthed by the Cinémathèque Française last year, it was made from still photographs. We discover previously unknown photographs, that make an amusing portrait of English people at work and at leisure.

In 1989, Martin Parr, a photographer already recognised for his controversial colour photographs of the British “middle class”, applied for membership in the Magnum Photos cooperative agency. At the time, Henri Cartier-Bresson, co-founder of the agency, strongly opposed it. A meeting between the two photographers finally allowed a personal “reconciliation” as well as the coexistence within the agency of their diametrically opposed conceptions of photography. Martin Parr finally joined the agency in 1994 and even served as President (2013-2017).

The interest of this book is to qualify these divergences of point of view which, according to Henri Cartier-Bresson, belong to “two different solar systems”. The previously unknown photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson to be discovered there resonate in a disturbing way with those made by Martin Parr, more than 20 years apart in the same region of northern England.


At the centre of the book, facing one another, are the fax from Henri Cartier-Bresson who acknowledges having made a judgment and the response from Martin Parr.

François Hébel, Director of the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, in a previously unpublished text, returns to this “reconciliation” allowed by the image, and to these three eras seen through two sharp points of view, always with humor, on the evolution of English mores.

Images credits:
Martin Parr, Scarborough, 2016 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Liverpool, octobre 1962 © Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos