Derrière la gare Saint-Lazare, pont de l’Europe (Paris, 1932) by Henri Cartier-Bresson
The photograph above was to Time magazine, “The Photo of the Century”.
By then, photographs of puddle jumpers were clichés, but as New York Times remembered, “Cartier-Bresson brings to his image layer on layer of fresh and uncanny detail: the figure of a leaping dancer on a pair of posters on a wall behind the man mirrors him and his reflection in the water; the rippling circles made by the ladder echo circular bands of discarded metal debris; another poster, advertising a performer named Railowsky, puns with the railway station and the ladder, which, flat, resembles a railroad track.”
“There was a plank fence around some repairs behind the Gare Saint Lazare train station. I happened to be peeking through a gap in the fence with my camera at the moment the man jumped. The space between the planks was not entirely wide enough for my lens, which is the reason why the picture is cut off on the left,” he explained in his usual laconic manner.
This picture became in time the stereotype of Henri Cartier-Bresson's 'decisive moment' : “Photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organisation of forms which give that event its proper expression.” This famous quote is from the lengthy introduction of Cartier-Bresson's book The Decisive Moment, published in 1952. Though, at the time this picture was taken, Cartier-Bresson was only 24 years old, he had taken up photography only a couple of years earlier and had just bought in Marseille his first Leica camera. Only 20 years later Henri Cartier-Bresson theorized the Decisive Moment.
This picture might well be the most imitated, emulated and reinterpreted photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson
Friedrich Seidenstucker, Auf dem Sprung; Henri Cartier Bresson, Derrière la gare Saint-Lazare; Mike Stimpson, Behind the Gare Saint Lazare
Here is a little dA collection of jumpers. Let's consider it an offering to the god of street photography!