Srinagar, Inde, 1948
Gelatin silver print
24 x 35.6 cm (9 7/16 x 14 in.)
Against the backdrop of a majestic landscape, the veiled silhouettes of women wearing ample robes stand out in the foreground. Seen from behind, they contemplate the plain and mountains of Srinagar in the Indian region of Kashmir. One of them, seen in a 3/4 frontal view, is raising her hands towards the immensity in prayer, her gesture imbued with hieratic beauty.
This photograph is emblematic of Henri Cartier-Bresson's work during his first trip to India, in 1948. He goes there as a photoreporter for Magnum agency, which he recently co-founded, to document the state of India a year after it gained independence. Here, he captures the mystery of the spirituality that so impresses him in Indian society by taking the picture at the fabled “decisive moment”.
Srinagar, Inde, 1948 is presented for the first time as part of the Pinault Collection in the monographic exhibition Henri Cartier-Bresson. Le Grand Jeu at Palazzo Grassi in Venice, in 2020.