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(From Guardian Unlimited)
In 2001, Henri Cartier-Bresson reflected on the long moment in the early 1940s when he had briefly considered turning from photography to film-making. "If it had not been for the challenge of the work of Walker Evans," he wrote, "I don't think I would have remained a photographer."
It's this quote that provides the epigraph for Photographing America 1929-1947, a fascinating book that focuses on these two masters of 20th-century photography. Intriguingly, Evans's photographs span the years of the book's title, while Cartier-Bresson's were all taken between the spring of 1946 and the summer of 1947. It is tempting, if not altogether true, to say that Evans is essentially an American photographer ( the American photographer?) while Cartier-Bresson is essentially a European one ( the European one?) who, for a brief but illuminating period, trained his outsider's eye on America.
Cartier-Bresson arrived in America from the newly liberated France in May 1946 to prepare for his first big …