Monday, August 27, 2012

My Georgia: Henri Cartier-Bresson In Georgia

Picnic near Telavi
I'm so excited to have found Henri Cartier Bresson's book About Russia on eBay for a very reasonable price ($20).  About Russia was published by The Viking Press, New York in 1974. 

Henri Cartier-Bresson  traveled around the USSR (by the way, the title of the book is very misleading, as the book is really about the different Soviet Republics) in 1972 (the year after I was born).  This book is like some surreal time-traveling machine for me.  It even has several shots of my hometown, Rustavi, where I was born and graduated from high school before moving to Tbilisi in 1989.  I literally get goosebumps just thinking that Bresson was shooting in my hometown in 1972 when I was one.  I simply had to have this. sellers offer the book as well, but unfortunately their prices start at $80.00 and up.  I was shocked to learn that Bresson was allowed to freely roam in the USSR in 1972.  This book is truly amazing and so special to me.  It will be treasured by me and hopefully by my children as well. 

Workers in the iron and steel complex in Rustavi

Rustavi: the old town was destroyed by invading Persians in the 17th (?) century, the new town has been built around the iron and steel complex (this is from HCB book, but I think old Rustavi was destroyed much earlier)

Tbilisi: the old town
Here is what Bresson says himself:
"I am neither an economist nor a photographer of monuments, and I am not much of a journalist either.  What I am trying to do more than anything else it to observe life".  
"I leave it up to those who leaf through these pages to answer the questions the photographs may pose or those that may arise in their minds as they look at them; in other words, the photographs should serve to stimulate the viewers' own reflections."

Speaking of books ordered online, I just received my own copy of Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel.  So far I have just looked through it.  Can't wait to actually read the book.


  1. I love Henri Cartier Bresson's work and that book looks outstanding. We learnt Russian at school and I was very lazy with it thinking that there was no way we'd ever get behind the iron curtain. Now there's Russians wherever I go and I feel terrible not being able to speak to them in their native tongue and relying on them to speak English. x

  2. Bresson's book is clearly a treasured find. I like what he said in the quote here.
    The Vreeland book is intriguing. Do let us know what you think of it.

  3. What a wonderful find that has so much meaning and resonance for you. Even without the personal connection, Cartier Bresson's photography captures something luminous and extraordinary.

  4. Wow, I never knew he was in Georgia, that's fascinating. I must show my sister that book on Diana Vreeland too, they have a section on red hair!

  5. What great photos! And thanks for your kind words on my blog. If you feel so inclined (and decide to buy - or perhaps if you don't), please do consider leaving a review to that effect on Unanchor itself to encourage others to buy! I'd be grateful indeed!

  6. Amazing coincidence ! This week I prepared my art teacher work and choose 2 Cartier-Bresson's pictures ! Incredible !!! I love him !

  7. What a find! I'm so excited for you... so far, my favorite pic in that pist is the child on the fence

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