VSRI Events


Learning to Shoot: The Photographic Education of Henri Cartier-Bresson

4th Annual Anne Friedberg Memorial Grant Lecture

Nadya Bair, Ph.D. candidate, Art History

Wednesday, April 30

SOS 250, 2:00-3:30pm


The photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson is known for his surrealist images from the 1930s, for his dual place in the art world and in press photography in the postwar period, and for his treatises on photographic theory – most notably The Decisive Moment, published in 1952. Shifting the focus away from Henri Cartier-Bresson as an independent image-maker, this paper studies the importance of collaboration and mentoring in Cartier-Bresson’s career. Letters written to the photographer by his colleagues at Magnum Photos as well as magazine photo editors over the course of two decades confront readers with a different lineage for Cartier-Bresson’s best-known images, and suggest new methods for studying the intrinsically collective nature of photojournalism.



Getting the Picture:
The Visual Culture of the News

May 4-5, 2014
University of Southern California
View Website


Few would dispute that the news picture, whether static or moving, photographic or autographic, is one of the most ubiquitous, powerful and controversial kinds of images today and that there is a long and complex history of the news picture still to be analyzed and explained.


This two-day conference seeks to classify and comprehend those pictures that are news with attention to theirproduction and material history. The decline of print journalism, the rise of the Internet and the advent of digital photography suggest that our current momentpresents an obvious turning point in the history of news pictures and yet we lack a clear narrative of its earlier history. While research has examined photojournalism through thematic priorities in the representation of historical events – war, catastrophe, atrocity, and exoticism – we seek papers that focus as much on the form, practice and material history of news pictures as on the images’ content. We are also interested in reception as it relates to contextual definitions of news and the value of its pictorial communication.