Jaipur, India

Artist: Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, Chanteloup-en-Brie 1908–2004 Montjustin)

Date: 1948

Medium: Gelatin silver print

Dimensions: 34.2 x 22.6 cm (13 7/16 x 8 7/8 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987

Accession Number: 1987.1100.174

Rights and Reproduction: © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos


The French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson has traveled throughout the world, working in Africa, China, the United States, Mexico, and all over Europe as a photojournalist on assignment for a number of magazines. He has made five trips to India, during which he captured large, historic moments such as Gandhi's funeral and the refugee movement caused by partition. This photograph, however, taken at the time of independence, focuses on a small, everyday occurrence: a teacher instructing his students on the streets of Jaipur. The nature of the photograph exemplifies Cartier-Bresson's dedication to representing human dignity and to working as an unobserved observer, often anonymous in the crowd and using only a simple 35mm camera. The aesthetic of this photograph certainly evolved from his work in press photography, in which each image must tell a story in a single frame.