When in Paris you have to be very clever choosing which museums you are going to visit since there are way too many. However, if you are into photography, the choice is clear: Henri Cartier-Bresson Fondation is one of the ones you simply cannot afford to miss.
The last exhibition of this year (until 22 December) shows the work of Magnum fellow Sergio Larrain, who has instantly become one of my idols. Not only because the amazing quality of his photography, capturing spontaneity as I have never seen before, but also because he spent most of his life on a sort of spiritual retirement, meditating, practising yoga, writing and drawing.
Born in Chile in 1932, he joined Magnum in 1959, one year after the British Council gave him a scholarship to go to London to work. The distribution of the exhibition makes clear that Larraín travelled loads for his assignements: England, France, Italy, Bolivia, Chile... Sadly at some point he decided he was done with that way of life and he went back to Chile to rest... and eventually quit the photography business.
The exhibition shows some unpublished images -not seen at his Arles show earlier this summer- and it offers the visitor a tour through Larraín's photographic career, from his London years to his major photography work in his hometown, Valparaíso.
He used to say that "a good image is born from a state of grace" and was he right!
The building that is home to the Fondation is a little treasure by itself. A former atelier d'artiste at Montparnasse, it was built in 1912 by Molinié and then Ceria and Coupel reformed it and transformed it into what it is today: a very bright and slightly narrow three floor building with an impressive top floor dedicated to Cartier-Bresson legacy.