In 1973, when I was a little boy aged 10, my mother said to me "How about a camera for Christmas?". I loved the idea - and this little piece of magic came to me. It was a super-simple Kodak Instamatic, a very basic model without any major setting options, but it opened up a whole new world to me. Finally I had a tool, a means, to express myself and show the world as I saw it. Years later, I bought myself a photo compendium, I think it was published by KODAK and came under the name of "FREUDE AM FOTOGRAFIEREN" ("The joy of photographing"), and there it was - this magic photograph by master Henri Cartier-Bresson, which I have never forgotten since then, which accompanied me through my whole life and which sparked my interest for showing people on the street. The black-and-white picture of a small boy, carrying home two huge wine bottles, an expression of pride on his face, carefully holding these big bottles.

When I saw this picture, it struck me like lightning: How on earth could a photographer be there, see and catch such an intimate, candid moment? What he said to be "The Decisive Moment". This was THE picture for me, which changed everything, motivating me to go out and find great pictures around the next corner, never knowing what awaits you and what life has in store for you. I see myself as a flaneur, an observer, trying to see things that others don't see, to make something out of nothing, find something special in the ordinary. You just need to stay focused and prepared to see and find the picture. Unstaged, candid. Showing people and ordinary street scenes, waiting until all the elements come together. The camera with the unobtrusive 35mm prime always ready to take action. Thank you, Henri Cartier-Bresson, for this true inspiration. He once said: "For me photography is to place head and heart and eye along the same line of sight. It’s a way of life."


© Henri Cartier-Bresson


All works © Thomas Hackenberg Photography 2020
No further reproduction or copying without the express written consent of Thomas Hackenberg. Hi-resolution files of all photos are available upon request.

All rights reserved.